Law: Slamming the Courtroom Doors

Pretrial hearings may be held in secret, the court rules

Distrust of secret trials runs deep in Anglo-American tradition. Long before the Court of Star Chamber was abolished in England in 1641, it had been widely recognized that without public scrutiny trials can be used as blunt instruments of persecution. Open trials provide more than the mere appearance of justice; they also help ensure that justice is done.

So it came as a stunning shock to many last week when the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-to-4 vote, ruled that the public has no constitutional...

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