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Gallup Poll: American Public Satisfied Not to Have Cameras in the Supreme Court

Aired November 30, 2000 - 2:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A few years ago, Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court said, and we quote: "The day you see a camera come into our courtroom, it's going to roll over my dead body." No doubt where he stands on the issue. But what about other Americans and cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court?

Here is Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, who can shed some light on this -- Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Indeed, we can, Natalie, we will get to the camera issue in just a second. To set the scene, we can show you that Americans are pretty positive about the Supreme Court. We asked every year at Gallup, confidence in a whole long list of institutions. The military is number one; church is number two; but notice, the Supreme Court comes in number four on that list, it is above the presidency and Congress; so, all in all, quite a bit of confidence on a relative basis in the Supreme Court.

Now, job approval ratings, we asked about Clinton, and the last time we asked about him, just a couple of weeks ago, it was 63 percent. But notice the Supreme Court, where we asked about a month or two ago, with 62 percent. So in specific sense, pretty high, particularly compared to Congress. Last time, we asked approval of the job Congress is doing it was lower. Our message here is: The Supreme Court is doing pretty well in the public's eye.

And now Bush and the Republicans brought this suit to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, Republicans have a little less confidence in the Supreme Court, they are at 60 percent approval. Democrats are the ones historically who have looked at the court for relief, 70 percent of Democrats nationally are confident in the Supreme Court.

Lighting (ph) issues, well, we went back in our Gallup Poll vault to find out what we have asked that before, two high profile cases in the '90s, right after the O.J. Simpson trial, we asked: Should they have been allowed? No, after all of that, we find the majority say we didn't like the idea there were cameras there.

Then, when the Oklahoma City bombing trial came about, with Timothy McVeigh, we asked the same question, and here we found that only 18 percent said they would want cameras in the courtroom.

All in all, looking at our historic data, we think the American public is pretty satisfied not to have cameras in that Supreme Court tomorrow.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: All right, Frank, thank you.

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