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Sotomayor no longer favors video cameras at Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor addresses an audience in West Palm Beach.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor addresses an audience in West Palm Beach.
Published Feb. 3, 2015

WEST PALM BEACH — Moving away from her earlier position, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday she no longer thinks allowing video cameras at the Supreme Court is a good idea.

Though Sotomayor said during her Senate confirmation she would try to soften other justices' opposition to cameras, she now thinks it could fundamentally change the nature of the court.

"I think the temptation to grandstand in front of a camera is so huge," she said, taking a question from an audience member at an appearance in West Palm Beach. She said it could change not only the behavior of lawyers appearing at the Supreme Court, but the justices themselves, who might succumb to "this temptation to use it as a stage rather than a courtroom."

"I am moving more closely to saying I think it might be a bad idea," she said.

Sotomayor's comments came on the same day Justice Elena Kagan, in a speech in Chicago, said she was "conflicted" over the camera issue but wary of anything "that may upset the dynamic of the institution."

In response to another question at the sold-out gathering of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Bar Association, Sotomayor suggested judicial activism was a myth.

"I think most judges have a definition of judicial activism: It's a ruling you don't like," she said to laughter and applause.

She urged the audience to read judges' written decisions rather than just digesting what others are saying about them.