• Chief Justice John Roberts
  • Justice Clarence Thomas
  • Justice Stephen Breyer
  • Justice Samuel Alito
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Justice Elena Kagan
  • Justice Neil Gorsuch
  • Justice Brett Kavanaugh
  • Justice Amy Coney Barrett

b. January 27, 1955
Buffalo, NY

Chief Justice John Roberts

Took His Seat: September 29, 2005

'Television changes a lot... Changing something as dramatically as televising the proceedings I think would be harmful ...We're the most transparent branch in government in terms of seeing us do our work and us explaining what we're doing.'

- Remarks at the Federal Judicial Conference of the Fourth Circuit, June 29, 2018

'There's a concern (among justices) about the impact of television on the functioning of the institution. We're going to be very careful before we do anything that might have an adverse impact.'

- Remarks at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' annual conference, July 13, 2006

'Well, my new best friend, Senator Thompson, assures me that television cameras are nothing to be afraid of. But I don't have a set view on that. I do think it's something that I would want to listen to the views of - if I were confirmed - to my colleagues.'

- Confirmation Hearing, September 14, 2005


b. June 23, 1948
Pin Point Community, GA

Justice Clarence Thomas

Took His Seat: October 23, 1991

'It runs the risk of undermining the manner in which we consider the cases. Certainly it will change our proceedings. And I don't think for the better.'

- Testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee, April 4, 2006

'I have no objection beyond a concern that the cameras be as unobtrusive as possible...It's good for the American public to see what's going on in there.'

- Confirmation Hearing, 1991


b. August 15, 1938
San Francisco, CA

Justice Stephen Breyer

Took His Seat: August 3, 1994

'I think there are good reasons for it and good reasons against it. The best reason against it is the problem that we could become a symbol since we are the Supreme Court, and if it was in our court, it would be in every court in the country, criminal cases included...When you have television in some, not all, criminal cases, there are risks. The risks are that the witness is hesitant to say exactly what he or she thinks because he knows the neighbors are watching. The risk might be with some jurors that they are afraid that they will be identified on television and thus could become the victims of a crime. There are risks involving what the lawyer might or might not be thinking...Is he influenced by that television when he decides what evidence to present? So what you have in me and the other judges, is a conservative reaction, with a small 'c.' We didn't create the Supreme Court...But we are trustees for that reputation, a reputation of great importance so that government will work fairly in America...And not one of us wants to take a step that could undermine the courts as an institution.' '...I hope eventually the answer will become clear, that either those who are concerned about the negative effects are shown wrong, or they're shown right. But at the moment I think it's quite uncertain what the answer is.'

- Interview on C-SPAN's Q & A, December 4, 2005

'I think what bothers many people, at least me, on the other side, is that if it were in the Supreme Court, I think it would become a symbol for every court, and therefore it would be in every criminal trial in the country. And when I start thinking about witnesses, [sic] I don't want them thinking how they look to their neighbors...And I do think about the O.J. Simpson case. And I think I'm not certain I would vote in favor of having it in every criminal trial in the country. And then I also think a problem in the appellate court is that when we decide something, it's decided for millions of people. Of the millions of people who will be affected, only two or three are actually there in the form of parties... A decision of this issue, this kind of issue, which carries with it threats to that institution as well as benefits, should be decided after really pretty serious research and study, and not decided on the basis of something that happens to strike somebody two minutes in a conversation. And that goes, by the way, for me as well as for everybody else.'

- American Bar Association Rule of Law Symposium Panel on The Role of the Judiciary, November 10, 2005

'Let me not talk about the particular case, and let me think about things that were in my mind a year ago, or two years ago, well before that particular matter arose. At that time, I voted in favor in the judicial conference of experimenting with television in the courtroom. That has been carried out. The results are being evaluated.'

'In Massachusetts, television is in the courtroom. The Massachusetts judges I've spoken to seem generally satisfied. The results of that are being evaluated in the federal system. My particular appeals court was not part of the experiment, but not for want of willingness; it was because they could only have a small number.'

'That's the circumstances in which I think my vote in favor of the experiment was right as of this moment-abstracting from this particular case and putting myself back in the frame of mind I was two or three months ago in respect to this. That's basically my view.'

- Confirmation Hearing, July 13, 1994

Remarks on Cameras in the Court

b. April 1, 1950
Trenton, NJ

Justice Samuel Alito

Took His Seat: January 31, 2007

'If our arguments were on television, we'd face some very stiff competition because there is already a surfeit of programming for court aficionados.'

- The Associated Press, October 19, 2007

'I had the opportunity to deal with this issue actually in relation to my own court a number of years ago. All the courts of appeals were given the authority to allow their oral arguments to be televised if it wanted. We had a debate within our court about whether we would or should allow television cameras in our courtroom. I argued that we should do it…The issue is a little different in the Supreme Court. It would be presumptuous for me to talk about it right now, particularly since at least one of the justices have said that a television camera would make its way into the Supreme Court over his dead body. I will keep an open mind despite the decision I took in the third circuit.'

- Confirmation Hearing, January 11, 2006

'Television coverage of the Supreme Court would not simply let the public see what goes on before that important institution, but would also in some ways change what now goes on…Some lawyers arguing before the court in televised cases would use the occasion to address the television audience for political or other purposes.' In addition, Alito said televised proceedings could affect how justices ask questions during arguments.

- Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey speech, April 1996 (prior to joining the Court)


b. June 25, 1954
Bronx, NY

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Took Her Seat: August 8, 2009

'I have had positive experiences with cameras. When I have been asked to join experiments of using cameras in the courtroom, I have participated. I have volunteered.'

- Confirmation Hearing July 14, 2009


b. April 28, 1960
Manhattan, NY

Justice Elena Kagan

Took Her Seat: August 7, 2010

'I do think it would be a good idea...If everybody could see this, it would make people feel so good about this branch of government and how it's operating...it's such a shame actually that only 200 people a day can get to see it and then a bunch of other people can read about it. Because reading about it is not the same experience as actually seeing...'

- From remarks to the Aspen Institute, August 2, 2011

'I have said that I think it would be a terrific thing to have cameras in the courtroom ... I think it would be a great thing for the institution, and more important, I think it would be a great thing for the American people.'

- Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, June 29, 2010

'I have the feeling that they are going to make this decision themselves, and they probably should. They're the folks who best of the dynamic on the court -- who best know the dynamics of the court, and I would not get in their way on this. But I thought about it as I watched the court in the past several months. I was confirmed by the Senate on March 21, and literally the day after that was the Supreme Court. I went to every argument there in the march sitting, and every argument in the April sitting, as well. What I was struck by is that if cameras were in the courtroom, the American public would see an extraordinary event. This court, I think, is so smart and so prepared and so engaged, and everybody who gets up there at the podium is, you know, the toughest questions, the most challenging questions are thrown at that person. And there is a debate of really extraordinarily intellectual adultness and richness -- adeptness and richness. When C-SPAN first came on, they put cameras in legislative chambers. And it was clear that nobody was there. I think if you put cameras in the courtroom, people would say, 'wow.' They would see their government working at a of really high level -- at a really high level. That is one argument for doing it.s.

- Appearance at a Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, July 23, 2009

Remarks on Cameras in the Court at the Aspen Institute, August 24, 2011
Remarks on Cameras in the Court from the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, June 29, 2010
Remarks on Cameras in the Court from the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, July 23, 2009

b. August 29, 1967
Denver, CO

Justice Neil Gorsuch

Took His Seat: April 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch: 'I come to it with an open mind. It's not a question I've given a great deal of thought to. I've experienced more cameras in the last few weeks, than I have my whole lifetime by a long, long way. I've got to admit the lights in my eyes are a bit blinding sometimes so I'd have to get use to that.'

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): 'But would you favor it or not?'

Justice Gorsuch: 'I would treat it like any other case or controversy that's what I can commit to you…that I would want to hear the arguments. I know there are justices on both sides of this issue. Right?'

- Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing, March 21, 2017


b. February 12, 1965
Washington, DC

Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Took His Seat: October 6, 2018

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): "Would you keep an open mind on cameras in the courtroom, or if you have strongly held views on it, don't be afraid to tell me."

Justice Kavanaugh: "...On the Supreme Court, I think the best approach for me is to listen to the views of people like yourself, Mr. Chairman, and others I know who are interested in that, to learn -- if I were to be confirmed -- from the experience there and to see what the experience there is like, to listen to the justices currently on the Supreme Court, as I've said, be part of a team of nine."

"I'd want to learn from the other justices what they think about this (cameras in the Court), because several of them, as you know well, Mr. Chairman, when they are in my seat, expressed support for the idea of cameras for oral arguments and then when they were there for a few years, switched their position after experiencing it. So I'd want to talk to them why -- why that position."

- Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing, September 6, 2018

Remarks on Cameras in the Court from the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, September 6, 2018

b. January 28, 1972
New Orleans, LA

Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Took Her Seat: October 27, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): "Has your court had any problems with these procedures? What are your views on allowing cameras in the courtroom? If confirmed, would you keep an open mind about allowing cameras in the Supreme Court?"

Justice Coney Barrett: "I would certainly keep an open mind about allowing cameras in the Supreme Court."

- Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett Confirmation Hearing, October 14, 2020

Remarks on Cameras in the Court from the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, October 14, 2020