Sketching and raging in the courts


Photo: New York Times

The dying art of courtroom sketches. One unforeseen consequence of the ongoing battle for cameras in courtrooms is the phasing out of courtroom sketch artists, a breed who will be more appreciated in their passing.

The New York Times has this must-see Op-Doc about one such artist, Gary Myrick (shown above with some of his sketches), who covered Texas court proceedings for four decades.

As Ramtin Nikzad wrote about Myrick:

Starting with the Dallas school desegregation trial in 1976, he sketched courtrooms that featured famous politicians, serial killers, professional athletes, international arms merchants, housewives-turned-killers, victims’ families, rapt juries and napping judges — all rendered with an empathetic gaze and understated wit. His work conveyed the tragedy and folly of the courtroom experience, while avoiding sentimentality and snap judgments about his subjects. His human touch captured what cameras never could.

Another round for “Raging Bull.”  Speaking of courtroom sketches, see below for one today from Art Lien, who covers the U.S. Supreme Court and, because there’s still no cameras allowed in that court, is one of the few fortunate courtroom artists left with an active docket.  The sketch shows Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reading from her opinion today in Petrella v. MGM — otherwise known as the “Raging Bull” case.  In that decision, the court held, 6-3, that the daughter of a deceased screenwriter could proceed with her lawsuit against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for infringing on an earlier screenplay of what ultimately became the movie about the life of boxer Jake LaMotta.

Art Lien via Twiter (@courtartist)

Art Lien via Twiter (@courtartist)

Rage against the machine. Raging of another sort thankfully continues with the likes of Public Justice’s Paul Bland, who in this short video relays what the media and the public need to know about what the U.S. Supreme Court — under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts — is doing to consumers and class actions.

As Media Matters says in the introduction to the video:

For its part, the conservative Roberts Court has repeatedly sided with corporations, all the while making it difficult for consumers to fight back. Under Roberts, the Court has slashed at its own precedent in an effort to make class actions obsolete, making it more difficult for women and people of color who have been systematically paid less by their employers to join together as a class to sue.



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