Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has provided a cordially inconclusive response to Radio-Television News Directors Association President Barbara Cochran's offer to help the court provide audio and video coverage of oral arguments."
"Thank you for your letter of Oct. 6, 2005, offering to assist if the Court wishes to explore the idea of opening its proceedings to electronic coverage," Robertson wrote in a brief note.
"I appreciate your offer, as well as your comments regarding the Court's occasional expedited release of the audio tapes of oral argument, and will keep both in mind."
Cochran was optimistic, saying the letter showed that Roberts "still had an open mind."
At his nomination hearings, Roberts told TV and radio coverage fan Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that he would consider such coverage, saying Fred Thompson, TV star and former senator, had advised him that cameras wouldn't bite.
Specter has introduced a bill to permit TV cameras in open Supreme Court sessions, unless the majority in a particular case decides it would violate due process, and the House has passed a bill that would allow cameras in federal courts, including the High Court.
Roberts last week agreed to C-SPAN's request for expedited audio tapes of two upcoming cases, one on abortion and the other on military recruiting on college campuses. Cochran called that news "terrific."