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Fix the Court: Coronavirus-Closed Supreme Court Should Open for Streaming

The Supreme Court has closed its building to the public effective Thursday (March 12) until further notice due to the coronavirus. The building remains open for official business and the court said case filing deadlines will not be extended. 

Related: New Bill Requires Online Audio From Supreme Court 

Given that, said Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth, if the closure extends beyond March 23, the next time oral arguments are to be heard, the court should at minimum allow for live streamed audio. 

Roth said it was the right call to close the court to the public's physical presence, and would be the right one to make sure they have a virtual presence via streaming. 

He said that would be the smartest way to balance the public interest in both safety and access to the court. Ideally it would be a video stream too, but he concedes that would be bit tougher of an ask. "The idea here is to use technology that's easy and has been done before." 

The court audio streamed Justice Antonin Scalia's memorial service in November 2016. 

Fix the Court has long pushed for live video and audio of court proceedings. 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.