Supreme Court Maintains Streamed Audio, For Now

Supreme Court building
U.S. Supreme Court building (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court will continue to provide live streaming of its oral arguments for the October session, continuing a practice started during the pandemic, when its in-person gallery was closed, but not yet deciding to declare the practice permanent.

“I had hoped that live argument audio would have been made the permanent policy of the Supreme Court, but there’s reason to rejoice that the feed will at least be maintained throughout what’s expected to be another contentious term,” Fix The Court executive director Gabe Roth, who has been pushing for court audio and video for years, said.

While the gallery has been reopened — the rest of the building remains closed to the public — the court said it would continue to provide “a live audio feed of all scheduled oral arguments for the upcoming term.”

Also: Bill Would Require Streaming Audio in High Court

Following that news, the editorial page of The Washington Post Monday (October 3) called for the court to both make the live broadcasts permanent and to extend the “public” in public trial to video as well.

Roth, who is all for video joining audio of the bench, said he thinks it will take a generational change — Generation Xers and millennials on the court replacing baby boomers — to get cameras in the court, so he is focused on keeping the pressure on for permanent streamed audio.

“The justices have a constituency of 330 million, and all of us, not just those who have the time and money to get to Washington on argument day and wait for hours in line, deserve to be able to follow the Court’s work in real time, as modern technology permits,” Roth said.

There have been numerous efforts to pass legislation mandating cameras in the court going back a couple of decades, but none have made it into law, in part due to ongoing separation of powers concerns about Congress dictating to the judiciary. ▪️

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.