The Supreme Court granted same-day audio for the first time in three years this week, releasing the audio file of arguments in Trump v. Hawaii, a mere 44 minutes after arguments concluded Wednesday morning – and not on Friday afternoon, as is the court’s usual practice.
That an expedited release was so easy prompted legal experts across the country to ask why it’s not standard.
Former Supreme Court clerk and frequent practitioner Kannon Shanmugam, Case Western Law Prof. Jonathan Adler, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine and L.A. Times Senior Editorial Writer Mike McGough – to name a few of ideologically and geographically diverse voices – called on the justices to make same-day audio standard for all arguments, even the more dry ones on the Armed Career Criminal Act or ERISA.
The Associated Press went further. “The fast turnaround raises two questions,” they wrote. “Why not just provide live audio of the proceedings? At the very least, why not do same-day release more often?”
All 13 federal courts of appeals release audio within a day of a hearing, making the high court the only laggard at the appellate level.
Three of them – the Fourth, Ninth and D.C. Circuits – have livestreamed audio of their hearings, with two or three others considering making this upgrade in the near future.
As this week proved, the Supreme Court can and should do the same.