Mr. Speaker, over the past year I have addressed many issues I have with the judgments handed down by the highest court of our country, the Supreme Court, right across the street.

Recent rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States, particularly pertaining to the separation of church and State, property rights, the right to say the pledge of allegiance, and the use of foreign law by our Supreme Court in interpreting the American Constitution, have prompted an outcry by the American people and a growing interest, or better yet, confusion, confusion on how those decisions are made.

The decisions made by the Supreme Court have a direct impact on the lives of Americans and every American in the future. With that said, I believe it is past time that every American be afforded the opportunity to see how those decisions are made in this Court.

I filed legislation that would allow cameras to broadcast Supreme Court proceedings so that we can all see the arguments made before the Supreme Court and how they make those decisions that affect our lives from now on.

I am no stranger to cameras in the courtroom. I was one of the first Texas judges to allow cameras in the courtroom. In addition, I was the first judge in Texas to oversee a capital murder trial broadcast in its entirety on television. Our sense of justice says the more open and public a trial, the more likely justice will occur.

I found that cameras only enhanced this concept. As a criminal court judge for 20 years, I have had countless cases covered by the media from all over the world. Critics argue that attorneys play to the cameras; but the truth is, they play to the jury. They always have played to the jury. Juries are the ones that make the decisions, not the audience.

Courts have the ability to prevent filming of the jurors, child witnesses, assault victims while letting the community see the public trial. Cameras make the ability of the people to view justice as it is in progress.

In the case of cameras broadcasting the Supreme Court hearings, there is no jury, just nine Justices who have the final say on the American Constitution. Because of the magnitude of the rulings handed down by this Court, these proceedings above all others should be as open to the public as possible.

While the hearings are, in fact, open to the public, not everyone has the ability to travel to Washington, D.C. and view these proceedings. This is why it is precisely time to come to the reality to open the Supreme Court to public hearings and allow their proceedings to be filmed by cameras.

Cameras can be unobtrusive. There are no big lights. There are no big cameras. In fact, many people do not even realize there are cameras in this Chamber. So it is time to film these proceedings. Opening these proceedings to the American public is much more important than seeing the child molestation trial of the King of Pop or the murder trial of some ex-football player.

Yet there was no concern over viewing these proceedings on television. Why should there be concern over a Court that has the final say on how our Constitution is interpreted? This year the Iraqi country, the Iraqi people have formed a new democracy, and part of that is a new judiciary. And yet they are already filming their trials, because the tyrant of the area, Saddam Hussein, his trial is on international television. This is their democracy and their courts seem to be somewhat more open than even ours.

Those judges and critics who do not want the public to view what they are doing in those courtrooms, Mr. Speaker, maybe should not be doing what they are doing behind those closed doors. It is time to open the Supreme Court to public viewing of their proceedings on television.