The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

The Fifth Circuit Has Launched a YouTube Channel for Oral Arguments

For the past month, the Fifth Circuit has posted oral argument audio on YouTube.


For several years, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has posted video of oral arguments on YouTube. This feature makes it very easy to follow and locate arguments. Moreover, YouTube allows me to watch oral arguments at double-speed with closed captioning. Eventually, I hope the other circuits catch up to the Ninth Circuit–with respect to technology that is, not jurisprudence.

I am happy to report that the Fifth Circuit has recently joined YouTube. For the past month or so, the Fifth Circuit has posted audio recordings to YouTube.

No video, yet. But this audio feature is a vast improvement over the old system. In the past, you had to download individual MP3 files. Now, all of the audio files are stored on YouTube in perpetuity. You can play audio at double-speed, and read the captions. Plus, I love the patriotic-themed colors.

I did a quick survey of the other circuits. Only the Ninth Circuit posts videos on YouTube. The Third Circuit posts video a propriety streaming service. Files take forever to buffer. The Court should move to YouTube. The Seventh Circuit has posted a handful of videos files online, including one with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. But the Seventh Circuit doesn't even use a streaming server. It simply posted .mp4 files. My goodness. Those downloads would crash the server if there was ever any demand. Go to YouTube.

The remaining circuits simply post .mp3 file, without any type of streaming server: First, Second, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuit.  These Circuits should follow the Fifth's lead.