Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth released this statement in light of the technical issues in today’s M.D. Pa. hearing in 20-2078, Trump v. Boockvar:
“Every federal appeals court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has figured out how to livestream its hearings without technical failures. Yet federal district courts, both today in Pennsylvania and two weeks ago in Texas, are plagued with massive difficulties at the very time the country’s attention is upon them. This is completely unacceptable.
“Just yesterday, we were told by the courts’ administrative arm that ensuring public access to proceedings ‘is and remains a priority.’ But today’s problems demonstrate the judiciary’s lack of commitment to actual solutions, including the refusal to greenlight the use of YouTube or other platforms that can handle significant traffic. This latest installment in judicial neo-Luddism has made the third branch a laughingstock on par with a certain former U.S. attorney who appeared in court today.”
After the public access failure in the S.D. Tex. ballot drop-box case on Nov. 2, Fix the Court joined with several media groups to ask the U.S. Courts to fix the issue. We pleaded: use YouTube, Skype, Teams, Zoom – something that can handle massive traffic. If not, at least permit a local media outlet to create and distribute a pool feed for the media and public. Neither happened.
Instead, we received this response yesterday: “Judiciary policy prohibits audio streaming of district court proceedings [so] this is not an available option.”
“Judiciary policy” is doing a lot of work here, whatever amorphous thing that is, and it’d take nothing more than a three-minute Zoom call with a handful of judges to rectify the “policy” and improve public access to federal court hearings once and for all.