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Senate panel endorses cameras in federal courts

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A bill to permit cameras in federal courtrooms advanced yesterday with the endorsement of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The panel voted 10-8-1 to send the S. 352, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007, to the Senate floor. The House Judiciary Committee endorsed similar legislation last year. It was not clear when the legislation would come up in either chamber.

The Senate bill would authorize the presiding judge or a panel of judges of federal appellate and district courts to permit cameras to record the proceedings, except in certain circumstances. It also includes the Supreme Court. The measure directs the Judicial Conference of the United States to come up with guidelines to which the presiding judge may refer in such cases.

Voting against the bill were Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland. Also voting against the measure were Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., did not vote.

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By Tony Mauro As famously camera-shy Justice Souter exits, experts debate potential for broadcast access. 05.12.09

Cameras in the courtroom

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