Federal Courts and Nominations

RELEASE: High Court Applauded for Permitting Live Audio Broadcast of Oral Arguments

“We look ahead to a time when such open access to the Court’s important work, from oral arguments to opinion announcements, is no longer a historic exception, but is instead routine.” — CAC President Elizabeth Wydra

WASHINGTON – Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it has decided to hold more than a dozen oral arguments by telephone conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing an audio feed of those arguments to be broadcast live by news media, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following reaction:

We applaud the Court’s decisions this week both to find a way to hold oral arguments safely as the nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to allow live broadcast of such arguments to a broader public for the first time in the institution’s history.

The Court’s live audio broadcast policy, though begun under these difficult circumstances, presents an opportunity for improved and sustained transparency going forward. We look ahead to a time when such open access to the Court’s important work, from oral arguments to opinion announcements, is no longer a historic exception, but is instead routine.

For many years, members of the Supreme Court bar have had the privilege to listen to oral arguments at the Court, even when they could not be inside the courtroom itself. Sitting in the lawyers’ lounge, these privileged few could hear arguments live, piped in over speakers, while the general public outside the Court has had to wait until the end of the week. The Court has rightly equalized access to its proceedings in these cases, and we hope this milestone marks the dawning of a new day for Court transparency.



“High Court Urged To Adapt Its Argument Schedule To Extraordinary Circumstances,” News Release, March 16, 2020: https://www.theusconstitution.org/news/release-high-court-urged-to-adapt-its-argument-schedule-to-extraordinary-circumstances/

“Open Supreme Court to all, not just elites,” Detroit News (op-ed), by Elizabeth Wydra, October 1, 2018: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2018/10/01/opinion-open-supreme-court-all-not-just-elites/1483213002/

“Stream the High Court,” New York Times (Letter to the Editor), by Doug Kendall, April 21, 2013: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/opinion/stream-the-high-court.html

CAC case page, Trump v. Mazars (consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank): https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/trump-v-mazars-usa-llp/

CAC case page, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Donald J. Trump v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/little-sisters-of-the-poor-v-commonwealth-of-pennsylvania-donald-j-trump-v-commonwealth-of-pennsylvania/


Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.


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