Six-Figure Fix (Supreme) Court Campaign Launched

A new Web site,, has been launched, accompanied by a TV ad buy on Fox and MSNBC pushing for more accountability for the Supreme Court, including live coverage of oral arguments.

The ad, which will air this week on the cable news nets in Washington, is called "Power" and will be accompanied by an online component and D.C. Metro station ads labeling the court "The Most Powerful. Least Accountable" government institution.

The ad buy is described as mid-six figures, with more to come.

Heading up Fix the Court is Gabe Roth, former manager of the Coalition for Court Transparency.

In addition of live broadcasts of both oral argument and the release and reading of opinions by the court, among the "fixes" Roth is looking for include more transparency about why judges do or don't recuse themselves--"when there is a conflict, they should publically explain their reason for recusal on the Supreme Court’s website," says Fix the Court.

It also wants better financial disclosures, an ethical code of conduct similar to other judges, more publication of public appearances and allowing media coverage.

Currently, the court does not allow live allow audio or video coverage of oral argument, but does make audio files available every Friday for oral arguments made that week, and sometimes same-day release of audio for high-profile cases or on request--C-SPAN, another strong supporter of opening up the court to cameras, frequently makes such requests for same-day release.

It does not allow video, and does not make the audio of the reading of court opinions--which precedes oral argument--available each Friday, according to a C-SPAN courts producer. Audio of the opinions is sent to the National Archives, which makes them available at the beginning of the next term.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.