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The right to a public trial has only rarely been addressed by the Supreme Court, but in Waller v. Georgia, the Court set forth a test for determining when it is appropriate to close a courtroom to the public, despite the general public trial command. The language of the Waller test suggests great rigor. This essay proposes a reconsideration of the test for courtroom closures, rethinking whether traditional strict scrutiny thinking is appropriate in this constitutional and practical context. That said, this essay does not argue with Waller’s broad outlines. Courts making closure decisions should consider reasons and alternatives. But the strict language of Waller’s formula does not account for courtroom management needs.

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