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D.C. Circuit Oral Arguments Will be Live-Streamed

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By George Khoury, Esq. on May 30, 2018 12:45 PM

For those who can't get enough appellate court action, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that, starting this fall term, it will begin live-streaming the audio of all non-sealed, non-classified, matters.

Currently, the court only live-streams the audio upon request. But, it still uploads the audio for every case on the same day as arguments. Additionally, the court already provides an impressive online archive of audio recordings dating back to 2007. Notably though, that collection didn't go online until 2013.

Recording the Record

When it comes to appeals, if it's not your case, generally, the most exciting, and anti-climactic, part is the oral argument. For court watchers and reporters, the questions and statements a judge makes can be all that's needed to draft a compelling story about the case. For law students and legal scholars, oral arguments provide a chance to gain valuable insights.

For the public, who might not want to listen to more than a couple minutes of any given case, if that, live-streamed oral arguments are a sign of transparency and access to the justice system.

The Case for Livestreamed Arguments

Unfortunately, the Court that everyone really wants to have live streamed oral arguments still hasn't gotten there, and may not anytime too soon. And while the D.C. Circuit's program may not be all that exciting, it certainly could provide some important data that SCOTUS may be able to benefit from.

As an initial consideration, offering live streamed oral arguments at SCOTUS would surely reduce the demand for a seat at oral arguments from local reporters, freeing up more seats for the public and tourists.

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