The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. The nine judges (justices) of the court hear some of the most important legal cases in the country. For the first time ever, the public is now able to listen to the court live.
Usually, the Supreme Court hears cases in front of some people from the general public. This is how we have made sure that the court is open and transparent. However, thanks to the dangers of Coronavirus and the need to keep a safe social distance, the court can’t really do that. The Supreme Court was closed in April, but starting May 4, the justices are getting back to hearing arguments.
Instead of meeting in person, they will hear arguments over a conference call on the phone. Just like the rest of the government, the Supreme Court has to be open and transparent so that people know the law is being taken seriously and that everything is being done right. Since no one can show up in person – not even the justices – the Supreme Court will livestream the call so that everyone can listen in.
Recordings of court sessions have been made since 1955 and are stored by the National Archives and Records Administration. Since 2010, recordings of each week have been available the next week. Now that they’re livestreaming the arguments, everyone can hear them immediately. Will livestreaming become normal for the Supreme Court, or will things go back to normal once the pandemic is over?