As the start of a new Supreme Court term rife with major cases approaches, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 30 media organizations have submitted a letter to the Court requesting live audio for high profile cases on civil rights and immigration. If the court demurs on live audio, same-day audio, they write, would be satisfactory.
FTC’s Gabe Roth released the following statement in response:
“It is inexcusable that our nation’s highest court continues to resist basic public access measures including live audio. The Supreme Court’s decisions in these cases will impact communities across America, and the audience for the court’s main public exercise should not be limited to the few among us able to make it to Washington and wait in line for hours. I urge the Supreme Court to grant this request.”
RCFP – together with CNN, the Daily Beast, Dow Jones, Scripps, Gannett, the Times (L.A. and N.Y.), NBCU and Politico, among others – is requesting that the audio of the court’s Oct. 8 arguments, addressing nondiscrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Nov. 12 arguments, on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, be livestreamed.
The Supreme Court typically releases audio of arguments at the end of the week but at times has altered that policy by posting same-day audio for cases with significant public interest. Fix the Court has long advocated implementing live audio as a routine matter for the high court, and has supported same-day and live audio requests in the past.
RCFP and their allies argue that the court’s standard, end-of-week audio release is detrimental to both journalists and the public.
“The Court’s usual policy of releasing audio recordings of oral arguments at the end of the week on which they are heard will impede journalists’ ability to provide same-day coverage of the arguments to readers, viewers, and listeners who rely on the news media for information about these crucial issues of significant public interest,” they write.