Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has been supportive in the past about allowing the televising of oral arguments in the courtroom (see Gavel Grab), but now she seems to have changed her tone.
New York Magazine reported some excerpts of her comments this week when she appeared at an event promoting her memoir and was asked about cameras at the Supreme Court:
“There’s no other public official who is required by the nature of their work to completely explain to the public the basis of their decision.”
“Every Supreme Court decision is rendered with a majority opinion that goes carefully through the analysis of the case and why the end result was reached. Everyone fully explains their views. Looking at oral argument is not going to give you that explanation. Oral argument is the forum in which the judge plays devil’s advocate with lawyers.”
“I think the process could be more misleading than helpful. It’s like reading tea leaves. I think if people analyzed it, it is true that in almost every argument you can find a hint of what every judge would rule. But most justices are actually probing all the arguments.”
The article was headlined, “Sonia Sotomayor No Longer Interested in Bringing Cameras Into the Supreme Court.” In testimony at her confirmation hearings in 2009, she spoke favorably about her own experience with cameras in the courtroom and said she would “certainly relay those positive experiences” her future fellow justices.