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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Media Group Co-Chair Kathleen Kirby Comments on Televising Federal Courtrooms

November 17, 2011

Kathleen Kirby, co-chair of Wiley Rein's Media Group, was quoted in an article on a decision by the Judicial Conference that allows a three-year experiment permitting camera access to 14 federal district courts.

The First Amendment Center reports that the decisions is similar to a test done in the early 1990s, which is the only previous time cameras have been allowed in federal trial courts for news coverage. Ms. Kirby said she had "mixed emotions" about the rules established for the program.

"On one hand, we haven't had coverage of federal courts at all, so any baby steps in the right direction I welcome," said Ms. Kirby. "On the other hand, given how restrictive these rules appear to be, I wonder if they're going to get a meaningful sample so they really can evaluate the effects of camera coverage on federal court proceedings."

Ms. Kirby was also quoted in a Miller-McCune article on efforts by the Radio Television Digital News Association to convince the Supreme Court to televise oral argument. For years the high court has declined allowing cameras into proceedings, sighting obtrusiveness and concerns that it would turn the event into a spectacle.