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Americans Want the Supreme Court to Function Remotely, And That Includes Hearing Arguments  

New poll by PSB Research shows wide margins of support for remote SCOTUS and televised hearings

Most Americans say the Supreme Court should conduct oral arguments remotely, and that these remote hearings should be televised, according to a poll released today by PSB Research.

Seventy-two percent of those surveyed say they support the high court convening online during the pandemic to hear oral arguments, with only 13% opposed.

Should remote proceedings occur, 61% say they favor allowing television coverage, with only 22% opposed.

See the poll results here.

“The numbers are conclusive. The American public expects Supreme Court justices to use modern technology to continue doing their jobs, and that includes hearing oral arguments,” Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth said. “A pandemic may sound like a good excuse for reducing the justices’ workload, but since the places we’re all stuck – at home, in front of our computers – have everything you’d need to keep hearing cases, that excuse falls short.”

“By a five-to-one margin, Americans say the justices should embrace a digital solution to hear oral arguments virtually amid this unprecedented crisis,” said Adam Rosenblatt, Vice President and Senior Strategist at PSB Research, which conducted the study. “Though the public is often divided across age, gender and party lines, Americans are uniquely unified when it comes to wanting continuity from the high court.”

PSB Research also asked the sample – 1,000 American adults surveyed March 26-27 – if the Supreme Court should allow television coverage of its oral arguments in general. Sixty-four percent said it should, with only 20% opposed. The complete poll results are available at this link.

Last Friday the Court announced that oral arguments for the April sitting would be postponed. The March sitting had similarly been put off. Several appeals courts, though, both at the state and federal level, have successfully transitioned to conducting virtual arguments.

Methodology:
PSB Research conducted online interviews nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level (larger for subgroups). When the above percentages do not add up to 100, that’s due to a “don’t know/no opinion” option. Contact information and further insights are available at psbresearch.com.

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