Supreme Court justices should continue livestreaming argument audio post-pandemic and one day soon allow cameras. They should end their demonstration ban on their front plaza. They should maintain their papers and release a portion of them to the public the same way former presidents do. Access to filings in the lower courts should be free and not stuck behind a $0.10 per page paywall.
Why is the federal judiciary making it so hard to listen live to court hearings?
“They were for it before they were against it.”
At the time of their nominations, all nine current Supreme Court justices were in favor of granting broadcast media access (that’s live video and audio coverage) in the courtroom for oral argument. But, curiously, they each changed their minds once they reached the high court.
Video coverage of Supreme Court hearings has never been allowed, and the audio files of such hearings are released at the end of the week, rendering them all but useless to news directors across the country.
To make public access to the public institution even more challenging, the court does not allow individuals to congregate or demonstrate on its spacious front the plaza. The U.S. Department of Justice even prosecuted a man for having the audacity to stand on the plaza while holding a sign.
So there’s lots to fix here.
Within one year of the bill's passage, same-day audio release for Supreme Court oral arguments would be required; live audio at the high court would be required within two years and live video for all circuit court arguments also within two years.