Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How the Supreme Court Can Increase Transparency Through Live Audio Access
Press Release

RELEASE: How the Supreme Court Can Increase Transparency Through Live Audio Access

Washington, D.C. — After delaying oral arguments at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Supreme Court began providing remote online access to live audio of court proceedings for the first time in American history. A new column by the Center for American Progress outlines how continued access to the live audio would increase the court’s transparency and accessibility even after normal operations resume.

With only 50 physical seats set aside for the general public during Supreme Court proceedings, very few everyday citizens are able to watch oral arguments in person. Paid line-standers who frequently hold spots for lobbyists and interest groups make it even tougher to get a seat, especially for disabled people, people from out of state, and people who are unable to take time off from work.

The column explains how remote audio access has spurred strong interest in the court from millions of Americans, with more than 2 million people having listened to at least one oral argument by November of 2020. Continued live audio broadcasts would ensure transparency and accessibility and help restore the public’s faith in the court’s functioning.

“All Americans should be able to hear the arguments taking place in the nation’s highest court,” said Stephanie Wylie, associate director of the Courts and Legal Policy team at CAP. “With strong public demand for the live audio broadcasts, there’s no reason to discontinue the current broadcast policy.”

Read the column: “The Supreme Court Must Continue To Provide Live Audio Broadcasts of Oral Arguments” by Stephanie Wylie, Anushree Thekkedath, Clay Cortez, and Erin Mahon

For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.