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A Times Editorial

Let C-Span televise health care argument

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Florida's constitutional challenge to the health care reform law, it should allow the public to watch the oral argument live. C-Span has asked Chief Justice John Roberts to make an exception to the court's prohibition of TV cameras in light of the extraordinary public importance of the 5 1/2-hour argument. The court should allow the arguments to be televised in a case that has consequences for just about every American.

C-Span has a deserved reputation as a responsible medium for objectively televising the work of government. The cable outlet links the public to congressional committee hearings and floor debates as they are happening in the nation's capital. By opening the door a crack to let C-Span be a live conduit between the court and the public on the Affordable Care Act argument, the court would be doing a great public service without sacrificing its long-standing concerns that broadcasts would change the character of the process or be intrusive.

The court makes oral argument transcripts available the same day and audio recordings available weekly but when the nation is riveted over an issue, that is not sufficient. The big constitutional questions with which the justices will grapple would be best understood by Americans through full access to the proceedings as they happen. C-Span's cameras should be allowed in.

Let C-Span televise health care argument 11/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2011 6:01pm]
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