Skip to main content

Supremes Deny Televised Coverage of Healthcare Oral Arguments

Less than a day after B&C/Multi reported the Supreme Court had yet to weigh in on C-SPAN's request to televise its March 26-28 oral argument in the challenge to the Obama-backed healthcare law, it did. In a letter to C-SPAN, the court said no, but added that it would release same-day audio transcripts of the arguments, which are spread over several days

The court currently releases audio transcripts of oral argument at the end of each week, an improvement of the Roberts court over the previous end-of-term release. It also makes transcripts available online.

Given the lack of video, C-SPAN will air audio recordings with accompanying photos, as it did with Bush v. Gore and other arguments.

"We appreciate that the Supreme Court has taken steps to expedite the release of audio recordings of the oral arguments in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases on March 26, 27, and 28," said C-SPAN in a statement. [W]e will provide same-day airing of these arguments on C-SPAN3, C-SPAN Radio and as soon as they are released."

"We are disappointed that the Court has rejected C-SPAN's request for TV camera coverage of the oral arguments in this landmark case," it added. "We continue to believe allowing video coverage of Supreme Court oral arguments is in the public's best interest."

"Every American should have the opportunity to see and hear this landmark case as it plays out, not just the select few allowed in the courtroom," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ioaw), who had also asked the court to televise the arguments. "The health care reform law has ramifications for the entire country," he said. "Video coverage would help with the public's understanding of not only the controversial new law, but also the American judicial system. It's disappointing that the Chief Justice isn't allowing video coverage of the case, but I appreciate his willingness to provide expedited release of the audio and transcripts to the American people."

Grassley backs legislation that would allow cameras into federal courts, including the Supreme Court.