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Supremes Won't Stream Kavanaugh Investiture

The Supreme Court has politely reflected a request by judicial transparency group Fix the Court that it stream the upcoming investiture ceremony* for new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh has been on the job for a few weeks, but the ceremony is an official "seat and greet" of sorts.

"For your guidance, the Court does not plan to livestream the Courtroom investiture ceremony on November 8," said Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathy Arberg in a note to Roth. "A transcript of the Courtroom proceedings will be made available on the Court’s website later that day, as it has been done for past investiture ceremonies."

Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth had pointed out in the request last week
that there is precedent for livestreaming important court-related "institutional events," pointing to the Nov. 4, 2016 stream of the Supreme Court Bar memorial for Justice Antonin Scalia. Given the contentious fight over Kavanaugh's nomination, Roth said it would be a public service to show the generally collegial event in real time as the Justices gather to officially welcome its newest member.

He also pointed out that Kavanaugh, formerly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was on the first three-judge panel that allowed web audio streaming of oral argument in that court and backed the decision by that court's chief judge, Merrick Garland, to agree to live audio streaming for all oral arguments.

The High Court was apparently not swayed by Roth's arguments.

*The Supreme Court describes the ceremony this way: "On June 23, 1969, the Court closed its last scheduled sitting with a formal Courtroom ceremony in which retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren administered a combined oath to incoming Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Under Chief Justice Burger, the Court began to hold special sittings to receive the commissions of newly appointed Justices. The first ceremony of this kind was held for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on June 9, 1970. During this special ceremony, referred to as the investiture, the Chief Justice generally administers the Constitutional Oath privately to the new Justice in the Justices’ Conference Room, the commission is presented and read aloud in the Courtroom and the Chief Justice administers the Judicial Oath in the Courtroom. Burger also started a tradition of having the new Justice sit in the historic John Marshall Bench Chair at the beginning of the ceremony."