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New Bill Requires Online Audio From Supreme Court

A new bill, appropriately called the 21st Century Courts Act, attempts to bring the court into this century, its backers say, by among other things, requiring the Supreme Court to provide same-day online audio of oral arguments (within a year of the bill's passage), and eventually live audio online (within two years).

The bill would also require live audio in all federal appeals courts, as well as a Supreme Court code of conduct and a public explanation of Supreme Court Justice refusals.

Related: Congress Looks at Cameras in Court

The legislation was introduced by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.).

"An independent judiciary requires the public’s confidence in the impartiality of judges and justices," said Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth. "Ensuring that the Supreme Court abides by a code of conduct, that every level of the judiciary better accounts for conflicts of interest and that all Americans have unfettered access to court documents – as this bill calls for – would go a long way toward building that confidence."