How great would it be if all landmark cases were streamed online? Everyone, from lawyers, to high schools students in a civics class, could see how the court system works.
We aren't there yet, at least in most courts. The Supreme Court refuses to allow cameras in the courtroom, either for live streaming, television broadcasts, or for online archiving. Heck, they only release audio recordings once a week.
But the Ninth Circuit, as they have done in the past, is pushing ahead with technology, and will begin to live stream en banc rehearings as early as next week, reports Politico.
Five Cases on the Docket
Prepare yourself -- the court has five en banc rehearings scheduled for next week alone, all in the span of three days (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday). That leaves little time for planning a en banc bash, but if you have some spare time between clients, it might be worth clicking onto the court's website.
Just Another Example of Tech Leadership
Earlier this year, we discussed the issue of link rot, and how it was plaguing the Supreme Court. The nation's High Court, which refuses to employ email, and won't allow cameras in the courtroom, cites to web addresses that eventually disappear off of the Internet. It's called link rot, and when you're trying to understand a court's opinion, it's made twice as difficult when the court's sources result in 403: Page Not Found errors.
We cited the Ninth Circuit as an example for the court to follow. The circuit court's website has PDF archives of all web sources cited, so if a link does "rot," one can still check the court's archives to see what the site looked like at the time of the court's opinion.
Maybe we're being a bit harsh on SCOTUS. After all, why jump ahead on the nation's biggest legal stage, when you can let the lower courts test it out first?
Perhaps the Ninth Circuit will try live-streaming, and the Supreme Court justices' biggest fears (lawyers grandstanding for the cameras, media taking snippets out of context, etc.) will be realized. Or perhaps, this will serve as a type of pilot program, and after the video streams prove to have no deleterious effects to decorum or the administration of justice, the Supreme Court will see fit to follow the Ninth Circuit's lead.
Then again, they still haven't caught on to email.
- How Many Ways Does SCOTUS Fail Technology and Transparency? (FindLaw's Supreme Court Blog)
- Senate Debates Cameras in Court Ahead of ACA Hearings (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- Ninth Battling to Regain Spot as 'Most Reversed' Circuit (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit Blog)