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Should the Supreme Court Increase Transparency Around Its Proceedings?

64.7% yes
35.3% no

The Supreme Court has a unique role in our constitutional system as a non-political branch of government. As a result, some of the Court’s operations are outside of the public eye. For example, cameras are not allowed in the Court’s chambers, and justices usually do not make any public comments before releasing their decisions on cases. On May 2nd, a Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked to the media and has again raised questions around the transparency of the body. 

Those who argue that the Supreme Court should increase transparency around its proceedings argue that the public should have greater knowledge about the body. They contend that the Court should allow Americans to have easy access to hearings in order to form their own opinions and also potentially voice their input for the Court to consider. They argue that the Supreme Court purposefully isolates itself from the public and as a result it has become too disconnected from the people. 

 Those who argue that the Supreme Court should not increase transparency around its proceedings argue that the Court’s unique role in our government requires it to have some secrecy. They argue that Justices need to be able to keep their deliberations and draft opinions away from the public in order to prevent impassioned political pressures from swaying a decision that should be based in legal reasoning and not what is the most popular.  They also claim that measures like adding cameras to film oral arguments could lead to issues as news agencies would pull clips out of context in ways that might inflame political partisanship.  

So, what do you think? Should the Supreme Court Increase Transparency Around Its Proceedings? Students can answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between!  

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:     

  • Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner    
  • Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers     
  • Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors     
  • They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner     
  • They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly  

 


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