Senators Introduce Sunshine in the Courtroom Act

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) have introduced the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, according to a Judiciary Committee press release.

Leahy is the Judiciary Committee Chairman while Grassley is Ranking Member.

The bill allows “federal trial and appellate judges to permit cameras in the courtroom.”

Some notable provisions per the release:

  • would also direct the Judicial Conference, the principal policy-making entity for the federal courts, to draft nonbinding guidelines that judges can refer to in making a decision pertaining to the coverage of a particular case
  • instructs the Judicial Conference to issue mandatory guidelines for obscuring vulnerable witnesses such as undercover officers, victims of crime, and their families
  • a three-year sunset provision is included in the bill
  • does not require a federal judge in a federal court to allow camera access to judicial proceedings…gives federal judges the discretion to allow cameras or other electronic media access if they see fit

The other co-sponsors of this legislation are Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Update (4/7): By a vote of 12-6, this bill was approved by the Judiciary Committee.

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