PetaPixel

Group Sneaks Camera into Supreme Court, Gives Us First Ever Glimpse Inside

An advocacy group concerned with the issue of campaign finance reform recently managed to capture some footage that has never been captured before: video from inside the Supreme Court.

The footage was filmed and subsequently uploaded to YouTube by a group called 99Rise, who took to the court room last Wednesday during one of the court’s public sessions in order to denounce an earlier decision by the court. It shows that the group was able to sneak a camera into the room not once, but twice over the past several months.

supremecourt

The footage itself is rather poor, but this is a first and as such is making headlines left and right. Supreme Court spectators, even members of the media, are not allowed to bring electronics in, and are screened via metal detectors on the way inside to make sure they comply. Thus far, nobody has been able to explain how the group captured the footage they did.

“The court became aware today of the video posted on YouTube,” Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Court officials are in the process of reviewing the video and our courtroom screening procedures.”

To get your own glimpse inside the Supreme Court (and a dose of financial protest, too) check out the video at the top. Now that the court has been made aware of the breach, we doubt you’ll see many more videos like it in the near future.

(via CNN)


 
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  • avvvd423424

    as interesting as see paint dry…..

  • Kin Chan

    courtroom pron

  • careybook

    pretty underwhelming. what was the point?

  • battlepriest

    Does no one grasp what a breach of security this represents? We’re heading towards strip-searching every visitor if this goes on.

  • Hd14

    Google glass?

  • Alan Klughammer

    Why are cameras banned in courts? I can see disruptions being banned. In other words, if you are annoying people with your camera you should be ejected, and possibly fined, but why can’t you take discrete (and silent) photos?

  • ISO640

    Please explain how this is a breach of security? How does this make the US or the USSC unsecure by recording the proceedings?

  • battlepriest

    It’s a breach in that everyone is searched for electronic and other gear, yet this got through. If a camera can get through, so can a gun or a bomb.

  • battlepriest

    There are very good reasons for the Supreme Court remaining unphotographed during argument. What the Justices look like is irrelevant to cases, and it would destroy the decorum of the Court to have clips show up on the Daily Show or Fox news.

  • ISO640

    Gotcha! Not to seem snarky or anything but why should the USSC be any more secure than say, colleges, schools, malls, movie theaters? I get it… just trying to make a point. I can understand not wanting guns or bombs in the USSC or any other government institution but recording devices seem to be a stretch. They’ve been banned before all this terror nonsense has been going on.

  • ISO640

    I’d guess to make people aware of what’s going on within the US Government and our judicial system?

  • battlepriest

    The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and thus, it is one of the biggest, most inviting targets. It should be obvious why more security is required.

  • battlepriest

    That’s not a valid argument. The public is as aware of what’s going on in the government as they wish to be. The Supreme Court issues audio recordings of proceedings – that’s all the information the public needs.

  • ISO640

    The Justices deserve no more protection than the average American, IMO.

  • ISO640

    I so disagree on that. The public needs to know so much more. I think the guy that spoke out did so for publicity however, do we know who gives money to the justices? Do we know if that money influences their “decisions” in any way? Citizens United is a train wreck of legislation/law that has done more to hurt the legislative system and the American people than terrorism.

  • battlepriest

    While everyone is getting their drawers in a knot over the fact that cameras aren’t allowed in the Court, I would ask – why do you think it’s necessary to see the Justices hear argument? What information does this give us that we don’t already have?
    What purpose would be served?

  • battlepriest

    Then we have a disagreement that cannot be bridged.

  • battlepriest

    What “more” could you learn from watching a case? All of their words are available as audio recordings and written transcripts. There is nothing of value to be gained from showing the proceedings, and much of value to be lost. Cameras should remain out of the Court – and in any case, it’s up to the Justices to decide, so it’s a moot argument.
    While the Citizens United case was a disaster, there are constitutionally-sanctioned ways to change it. The Court is doing what the Court has always done, and there is no tearing need to change how it operates, even if we could.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Transparency
    and accountability…

  • battlepriest

    What do you think the justices are doing – cutting out paper dolls? There are witnesses present during argument – the courtroom holds over 300 people. Every word spoken by the Justices in argument is recorded. That’s enough transparency. We don’t need to see them picking their noses.

  • Ralphie

    Actually, and contrary to what some members of Congress would have you believe, we do know quite about about the Court and the Justices themselves. They are the only branch of government that explains their decisions (though not their non-decisions, such as denying certiorari) in writing. Oral arguments are done in open court, and transcripts and audio recordings are made publicly available. As to money, the justices, as with all federal judges, publicly disclose their financial records (not easy to get, but it can be done by anyone who is willing to make a small effort).

  • http://biglightbox.com Andres Trujillo

    while that is true, I need to ask, do you think this goes on during the hearings? I’m all for eliminating corruption, but video of the hearing is not gonna do much more, for accountability, than what we already have (recordings, transcripts, witnesses, etc)

  • Alan Klughammer

    Agreed that what the Justices look like is irrelevant, however all banning cameras does is make it more of a challenge to get photos. why do you think these poor photos are such news? If photos of the supreme court were not banned, they would not be news.

  • Ralphie

    Given the information that’s available, transparency and accountability does not cut it. Otherwise, there would be calls for making the Court’s conference open to public scrutiny (for those unfamiliar with the court, it’s where the justices determine what cases to hear, where votes on a case are taken). As for accountability, the justices sign their opinions. For example, we know that the Chief Justice authored the opinion in US v. Apel. We know that Justice Ginsburg authored a concurring opinion, and was joined by Justice Sotomayor. We also know that Justice Alito authored a concurring opinion. There were no dissents. The cameras in the courtroom issue began to gain steam after Congress created C-Span and allowed filming of their proceedings (I’m curious if tourists are allowed to bring cameras into the chambers while in session). Members of Congress are pushing for this, but it really is a separation of powers issue. Beyond security for the individual justices, who do enjoy some anonymity when they are off the bench (I’ve witnessed tourists walking past Supreme Court justices who’ve gone outside for a noon-time stroll), the Court is also concerned about the effect that cameras can have on the arguments themselves. Lawyers have been known to mug for the cameras (look at the OJ Simpson trial). Some federal courts have been experimenting with cameras in the courtroom. However, I have yet to see CNN use film from the 9th Cir. in any of their news stories.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Are the observations of these 300 people recorded and preserved?
    It is also harder (not impossible) to manipulate/change photographic or video records than to change written testimony.

  • Alan Klughammer

    I agree that there is nothing really wrong with the system now. However I don’t see the argument for banning cameras. There are a few downsides, but, IMHO, more upsides.

  • europe guy

    and this is apparently democracy at its finest. Speaking from Europe where we do have a more objective look at our authorities and don’t just buy the democracy speech than US have.

    I think that the real issue here is why are this supreme court hearings so closed to the public? (I read that you have transcripts and audio recordings available, but be sincere, would those ever been on television, where the most people get their daily info?) And the second and probably most important part is what the guy said. He was probably jailed afterwards, after one of your most important amendments – freedom of speech.

    Corporations are not people – this is one of the issues that your supreme court made a fact in the past, they have similar powers as people do – look up this: Corporate personhood

  • Peter “Pots”

    Is this another Hero promo?

  • careybook

    all of that information is readily available and reported. My question was what was the point of a couple of minutes of the back of peoples heads and muffled sound. Just to prove you gamed the system?

  • David Vaughn

    Aren’t justices just Americans who (presumably) have vast knowledge about the Constitution and swear to uphold its values?

    Or…are they actually….Illuminati Lizard People?

  • saintbillybob

    Yawn……..

  • dustin dowell

    Someone could disguise a recording device as a bomb.

  • Memelas

    and a dog, and a possum, and a glass of wine… Your point is…?

  • Memelas

    errrr….. Isn’t it the other way around?

    Disguising a recording device as a bomb would be very obvious and tacky.

  • Kynikos

    Always nice to know if Clarence Thomas managed to stay awake.

  • Rabi Abonour

    I would argue that the onus should be on the government to justify banning cameras in the Court, not on everyone else to justify cameras being there. If everything is on record, then what is there to hide? Even if you maintain that members of the public can’t bring in electronics, what harm is done from having C-SPAN broadcast oral argument like they do pretty much all other government proceedings?

  • http://www.kivisaar.se/ SwedishKiwi

    My guess is a spy pen. I’ve got one myself and the poor image and audio is familiar.

  • Hd14

    Yes, it probably is one since security wouldn’t really bother about a pen.

  • dustin dowell

    Lol, woops. Yes. That’s what I mean.