The Volokh Conspiracy

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Supreme Court

The D.C. Circuit Will Soon Livestream Oral Arguments

And yet the Supreme Court is still reluctant to release same-day audio recordings.


Starting this fall, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will provide livestream audio of almost all oral arguments. A statement released by the court reads:

Chief Judge Garland announced today that the Court has voted to live stream audio of all oral arguments, except when classified or sealed matters must be discussed. The Court has been live streaming audio of oral arguments upon request since October 2017. Chief Judge Garland stated that "this is an important additional step in bringing transparency to our proceedings."

The court will also post audio recordings of oral arguments by 2pm on the days of argument for those who miss the livestream. [Update: As I should have noted in the initial post, the posting of same-day audio is not new for the D.C. Circuit. It has been doing this in most cases since 2013.]

Meanwhile, a few blocks away at One First Street, oral argument audio is not released until the Friday after argument. Even though the Supreme Court has released same-day audio without incident or problem in high-profile cases, the justices remain reluctant to allow people to hear the Court's arguments the day they are delivered.

Whatever the merits of livestreaming (or argument video) the Supreme Court's policy is unduly and unreasonably restrictive. Perhaps the new openness of the D.C. Circuit will help induce a change.