July 29, 2011

"Where is the 9,000-foot cow?"/"What do you think about Satan?"/"What did James Madison think about video games?"

Justice Ginsburg lists the strangest questions asked last term at oral argument.
"From the foregoing samples, you may better understand why the court does not plan to permit televising oral arguments any time soon."
Are you kidding? This is why it should be on television?

You know, the fabulous 7th Circuit judge Richard A. Posner wrote a great chapter titled "What Am I? A Potted Plant?"

And I just saw a potted plant on television.

Now, the potted plant was scintillating compared to the live — that is, barely animated — speech by President Obama that preceded it. But the point is: We want the Supreme Court on TV!

Bring on the 9,000 cows! We're dying out here in TV-land!

36 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The SCOTUS Justices fear being cut and pasted into U-tube hit pieces with Kathy Griffin commentary.

The Justices get might pushy in oral argument.

They better keep it secret.

The Crack Emcee said...

Nah, considering how liberals react to things, I'd rather just leave the court the way it is.

We don't want any more trouble,...

TS said...

No thanks.

YoungHegelian said...

No feudal lord was ever such a control freak over his fief as a judge is over his (her) courtroom.

Ask anyone who's ever had to provide supporting services at a courthouse. There's a large number of petty tyrants among the judiciary.

I can well imagine they wouldn't want that behavior televised.

Carol_Herman said...

I think too much courtroom drama would choke out reality. And, none of the justices would be candidates for stardom.

If there were TV's at the Supreme Court, the pressure on a president to install Judge Judy would be enormous.

There's also the downside of lost respect. And, the crazy crowds that would show up with their stinking balloons ... when there was a case that had public opinion in an uproar.

While, sometimes ... take Kelo, for instance ... nobody could believe Souter or Anthony Kennedyis vote.

If your face is on TV alot ... and you do a KELO ... you wouldn't be safe walking around anymore.

So, I say, NO TV. Not worth the price.

edutcher said...

So we can watch Ruth Bader Ginsburg nap or so we can see Elena Kagan and the Wise Latina work their womanly wiles on Anthony Kennedy (or each other, for that matter)?

I think I'd rather be chained to a chair for the rest of my life watching endless reruns of "Charmed".

gerry said...

Ask anyone who's ever had to provide supporting services at a courthouse. There's a large number of petty tyrants among the judiciary.

There's way too much risk with the parade of defendants that may be violent/crazy/vengeful/ignorantly self-righteous to permit shenanigans in the courtroom. It is the judge's turf, and necessarily so.

Now, if you're talking about a judge being pissed off because her Coca-Cola is the wrong temperature, then I agree. But I'd worked in hospitals for many years and saw many an M.D. with the same disposition. You'd like to string 'em up, but...

Calypso Facto said...

Much like Bradley's physical and then media attack of Prosser, televising the Supreme Court arguments would only serve to further erode already low opinions of the justice system.

traditionalguy said...

I can see the new Justice Nancy Grace now getting into Clarence Thomas's face about murdered woman and children.

That Nancy doesn't believe that guilty people have any rights.

Who will hold her back if she is on TV?

ic said...

The Court has to maintain its mystique to command respect, like the Brits' pre-Charles-Dianna Royal Family. In other words, you don't want to know what they put in your hotdogs, or see how the French chef arrange your order of stylish cuisine with his ungloved hands.

Alex Bensky said...

I don't know, Prof. Althouse. Cow questions in the Supreme Court? That could be udderly disastrous, rendering any decision mooot.

Lance said...

Bring on the 9,000 cows! We're dying out here in TV-land!

All the more reason to keep it off TV, to preclude the justices from pandering to entertainment bulimics.

John Burgess said...

No, I see no reason to comply with the prurient interests of law professors for televised USSC proceedings.

Sausage-making isn't all that interesting after the first time observing it. I'm satisfied with consuming the results.

Besides, if we want causes for outrage, we can tune in to Nancy Grace and her coterie of whacko lawyers.

ndspinelli said...

This would make Judge Ito a possible SC candidate.

Greg said...

All I can say is Oyez.org, Oyez.org, Oyez.org. It's not live, but the ability to listen to oral arguments on that site is a real treat!

Phil 3:14 said...

Supreme CourtTV

Why aren't there more mom-killing-their-babies and abducted-and-murdered-young-women cases?

(And 20 years later we see the Garafolo administration nominate Judge Judy for a seat on SCOTUS.)

timmaguire42 said...

Enough with questions! We want answers!

(So, where is the 9,000 foot cow?)

raf said...

I am trying to visualize a cow with 9,000 feet.

Mark O said...

These proceedings are "public." Open to the public. Not secret. Not done behind closed doors. It is a difficult argument to credit that the judges should be permitted to restrict the distribution of a public proceeding merely because technology will permit the proceeding to be available to millions instead of 30 who line up to get a seat.


Gag.

pm317 said...

Now, the potted plant was scintillating compared to the live — that is, barely animated — speech by President Obama that preceded it.

Double OUCH!! Don't vote for him next time.

pm317 said...

forget about supreme court on TV, now how can we untelevise Obama?

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't vote for him next time."

Please just picture John McCain dealing with this. Or do you think we'd never be in this predicament. Ah, but you are right then. There would never have been a Tea Party movement, and McCain would've played nice with the Democrats who would still control both houses of Congress, and.... ????

Well, I guess the big old stimulus wouldn't have happened. (Or would it?) I suppose there wouldn't be the healthcare reform looming. (Or would it???)

I don't know. Please plot out the alternative reality so I can compare it.

pm317 said...

I don't know. Please plot out the alternative reality so I can compare it.

I don't think McCain will run again in 2012.

ndspinelli said...

There are way too many combinations and permutations to predict what would be happening now w/ a McCain presidency. It was a good plot device for Frank Capra in It's a Wonderful Life, but real life doesn't work that way.

Phil 3:14 said...

Please just picture John McCain dealing with this. Or do you think we'd never be in this predicament. Ah, but you are right then. There would never have been a Tea Party movement

Not sure I see or agree that there would never have been a Tea Party movement in a McCain presidency.

And if this is so then that would suggest that at its core, the Tea Party movement is solely "Anti-Obama". The latest drama in the House indicates that its more than just "Anti-Obama" or "Anti-democrat"

Ann Althouse said...

"It was a good plot device for Frank Capra in It's a Wonderful Life, but real life doesn't work that way."

Yes, but I will continue to respond like this every time anyone bitches about my voting for Obama.

SunnyJ said...

Familiarity breeds contempt.

SunnyJ said...

@Althouse...don't think you were being asked to change your vote...you were being reminded you are seeing what is happening.

The given is that you now know what is happening and that would drive your decision making. If your, "I can't see it with just hypothetical" argument held water, it would mean you will automatically vote for anyone except Obama...as he's the known bad actor...the rest is just hypothetical.

Which is how you made your rational decision last time. Don't know about Obama but know McCain is bad.

And now you hypothesize that McCain would be worse but can't hypothisize against known bad actor Obama.

One thing for sure, it's a raionale but not rational.

Seven Machos said...

My favorite law professor, somewhat noted, something of a gadfly, suggested that televised proceedings are bad because the camera's presence changes the nature of the proceedings themselves. People act and speak differently knowing that their actions and words are filmed.

madAsHell said...

Who watches TV?

ndspinelli said...

I now understand your strategy now, professor. May I suggest a simpler, "Go shit in your hat" retort to people who bust your ass about your vote. It worked well for my mom..she didn't take any shit.

timmaguire42 said...

Voting for the winner has consequences. That's why I only vote for losers.

Ralph L said...

Won't you let them pick their noses in peace?

I doubt McCain would have run up $4 trillion in new debt in 2.5 years, even with a Dem Congress. But I've come to believe that if GHWB had been reelected in '92, conservatism and the cause of limited government would have been in much worse shape through the 90's (likewise for GWB). So in the long run, we may be better off with Obama than McCain. The big question is: Is Obama Hoover or FDR, or just Carter?

Here's hoping 2012 is decisive, and much of Obama's crap can be undone. Too bad about the debt.

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Akai_Tsuki said...

All I can say is Oyez.org, Oyez.org, Oyez.org. It's not live, but the ability to listen to oral arguments on that site is a real treat!
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Sprachschule DüsseldorfLangley computer serviceThe SCOTUS Justices fear being cut and pasted into U-tube hit pieces with Kathy Griffin commentary.