Video Exercises


Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

At the time Sonia Sotomayor was set to take her seat on the Supreme Court, C-SPAN asked current and former justices of the Supreme Court how new appointments change the Supreme Court.

“Excerpts from C-SPAN's Interviews with Supreme Court Justices”
Originally aired on C-SPAN, September 3, 2009

In what ways does a new appointment change the Supreme Court, according to the justices themselves? In what other ways do you think a new appointment changes the Supreme Court?
What aspects of Supreme Court procedures or ceremony were discussed in this video and also mentioned in the textbook?

Political action committees, issue advocates, and their causes are greatly impacted by the decisions handed down by the federal court system. One group, The People For the American Way, has produced a number of ads over the years that highlight the group’s concerns about Supreme Court appointees.

Robert Bork TV Ad
The People For the American Way

“The End of Choice?”
The People For the American Way

2. What concerns about Supreme Court appointments were expressed in the above videos? What agenda does The People For the American Way promote in these two videos? Do you feel these videos were effective in communicating this agenda? Why or why not?

The following commericial, sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), is also an example of interest-group advertisement concerning Supreme Court nominations.

NRA Ad Opposing Elena Kagan's Confirmation as Associate Justice on U.S. Supreme Court
National Rifle Association
July 8, 2010

3a. What concerns does the NRA have about President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court? Why?
What position on the usefulness of Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominees does this advertisement take? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

The Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is a parody of personality-driven political opinion shows such as those found on the cable news networks, wherein Colbert hosts the show in character as a right-wing pundit.

In the following video, Stephen Colbert discusses the proposal raised by Arlen Specter to televise Supreme Court sessions.

“The Word—Must-Not-See TV”

The Colbert Report

Originally aired on Comedy Central, October 4, 2006

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Must-Not-See TV
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

While this is a satirical discussion of the decision, the above video introduces important issues related to the right to privacy and the efficacy of “closed-door” Supreme Court deliberations. Do you feel that Supreme Court sessions should be televised for public viewing? Would this infringe on the right to privacy of the justices? Why or why not? Frame your answer in terms of the discussion of the federal courts in the textbook.
Do you think any or all court proceedings should be televised? Why or why not? If so, which ones? What about televising or recording jury deliberations?

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