“It is not particularly pleasant, but it is part of our democracy,” Leahy said.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein was the only Democrat on the Judiciary Committee to vote against the bill. “The court does not want this,” she said. “I don’t believe we should tell the Supreme Court what to do. We are separate branches of government.”
She added that the spectacle of the O.J. Simpson case had convinced her that “because something is televised does not necessarily mean that justice is better.”
The measure is co-sponsored by Sen. Dick Durban (D) of Illinois and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa. Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn joined Senator Grassley in supporting the bill, but the six other Republicans on the committee voted no.
“When I first came to the court … I was initially in favor of televising arguments, but the longer I have been there, the less good an idea I think it is,” Justice Scalia told the senators in a televised hearing Oct. 5.