Today, proceedings of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will be televised for the first time. According to an AOPC press release, the feed will air at 7pm on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). In addition, the Pennsylvania Satellite News Service will be proving a digital satellite feed between 4pm and 4:15pm. “The cases on the docket involve open records law, prison health and pharmaceuticals. The first case the court was hearing involved a plane crash.”
The historical significance of today’s event has been enhanced by the decision to carry on the proceeding in Philadelphia’s Old City Hall. Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said, “We are pleased to open our courtroom to the people of Pennsylvania so they can see, hear and learn how the cases we hear affect their lives. To do so in a courtroom that hasn’t been used by our Court since 1802 makes the moment even more meaningful.” Philadelphia’s Old City Hall was selected in commemoration of national Constitution Week.
PMC’s Lynn Marks attended the historic event and heard oral arguments before Court. With other Pennsylvanians, Marks listened as Chief Justice Castille educated the attendees about the history of the Court and types of cases that come before it. With the advent of technology, the Court hopes to increase its commitment to transparency.
Pennsylvania is not alone in its efforts to increase the transparency of the judiciary. According to Kansas’s Morning Sun, the Kansas Supreme Court will travel from its home in Topeka in an effort to show citizens “first-hand how their highest appellate Court works for all our citizens, regardless of geographical locale.” Likewise, WOWK.com reports that West Virginia’s Supreme Court has launched a new website as “part of a multi-year effort to increase judicial transparency.”
Judicial outreach is a crucial aspect of public education about the judiciary. PMC applauds these efforts to increase transparency and specifically thanks the PA Supreme Court and PCN for opening the Court’s proceedings to the public and working to demystify the judicial process.
Visit pacourts.us to view all of the press releases regarding today’s event.