Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

February 9, 2012

Grassley statement on cameras in the courtroom

Washington, D.C. —  

Sen. Chuck Grassley delivered these prepared remarks today, regarding cameras in the Supreme Court. 
 
With regard to the nominations, there are four nominations on the agenda for the first time.  There is a request on our side for these nominations to be held over for a week. 
 
Today, the only bill on the agenda is S. 1945- The Cameras in the Courtroom Act.  It would allow all Americans to have the opportunity to watch Supreme Court proceedings.  This bill is not new.  It has been before the committee on several occasions.  Each time, it was reported out favorably with bi-partisan support.
 
I am a cosponsor of this legislation and strongly believe it will help educate millions of Americans who do not know or understand how the Supreme Court works.
 
Before we move to S.1945, I want to take a minute and talk about an important issue that relates to the transparency of court proceedings that members of the committee should be aware of. 
 
Yesterday, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion ordering the public release of a 500 page report outlining serious misconduct by Justice Department attorneys from the Public Integrity Section during the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens. 
 
In the opinion, Judge Sullivan discussed the tortured history of the Stevens prosecution.  Specifically, he noted that after a public indictment, a public trial, a public conviction, and a press conference celebrating the guilty verdict, evidence of prosecutorial misconduct arose. 
 
He also noted that only as the evidence of misconduct became clearer, and harder to refute, did the Justice Department dismiss the indictment and vacate the verdict.  However, the Justice Department also stepped in to protect the prosecutors. 
 
The Justice Department initially sought to prevent any misconduct review by the court arguing instead for an internal review the prosecutors conduct via the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).  To his credit, Judge Sullivan did not allow this and instead appointed a special investigator to investigate and prosecute the Justice Department attorneys responsible for the prosecution of Senator Stevens.

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