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FTC, Media Groups to Judiciary: S.D. Tex. Disgrace Must Not Be Repeated

Fix the Court has joined with the National Press Photographers Association, News Media Alliance, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Society of Professional Journalists to write a letter to AO Director Jim Duff and the nation’s 13 circuit executives urging them to intensify their efforts to ensure that the public has live, unfettered access to any and all federal court hearings and bench rulings related to the election.

This comes in light of the spate of access problems the press and public encountered yesterday in 20-3709, Hotze v. Hollins, in the Southern District of Texas. As you’ll recall, the call-in line for the hearing on whether 127,000 votes delivered via drive-in dropbox were to be invalidated failed and kicked everyone off; then only some media could rejoin, and the audio quality was so bad as to make the attorneys and judge nearly impossible to understand.

We conclude the letter by offering three suggestions:
1. Permit district courts to use the YouTube channels that nearly every circuit has created for live audio of appeals during the pandemic.
2. Work with local media to create a pool feed.
3. Tweet or send a press release if and when there are major broadcast issues.

“Immediate access to court proceedings is critical to ensuring confidence in the voting process and in the fair administration of justice,” we write.

A copy of the letter is here.

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