Public Says Televising Court Is Good for Democracy

Article excerpt

According to a recent national poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind(TM), three in five American voters say televising U.S. Supreme Court hearings would be "good for democracy." That figure compares to a quarter who say televising the court would "undermine the authority and dignity of the court."

Liberals are significantly more likely tiian conservatives to tiiink televising the court would be a good development (71 percent-55 percent). Younger voters are more likely to tiiink televising the Court is good for democracy than older folks, while two-thirds of Democrats and nearly the same percentage of independents agree that Supreme Court TV would be good for democracy. Only half of Republicans agree, however.

Opinions are mixed when voters are asked to consider the effect of television coverage on Court decisions: 45 percent say TV would be good "because the judges would consider public opinion more" when making decisions, but 31 percent say it would be bad for die same reason - because justices would consider public opinion too much when making decisions. Twenty-five percent are unsure or say TV would have no effect.

A majority of voters presendy watch government proceedings infrequendy if at all, and three of four voters have heard litde if anything about proposals to televise the Supreme Court of die United States. …