Groups Ask Supremes to Keep Live Broadcasts Coming

Said they demonstrated decorum could be preserved

Fix the Court, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists have joined with more than two dozen groups to ask Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to continue to provide live audio of its oral arguments. 

The May session ended last week, during which live audio was provided in light of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on the “public” in public trials. That pandemic will likely still be around in October, when the High Court reconvenes for argument. 

“We understand that the Court had long resisted calls to broadcast live, wary that justices or attorneys would grandstand or the American public would misunderstand the proceedings,” they said, “so we were heartened to find these fears were not realized in May.” 

But Fix the Court and the others argue in a letter to the Chief Justice that the May session’s live audio demonstrates that such broadcasts provide “a clear sense of the gravity of the deliberations and the thoughtfulness of the justices,” so even when the pandemic ends, they want the broadcasts to continue. 

“Live audio helps America understand the Supreme Court,” they said. “We believe that if continued, it will benefit the institution – and the civic health of the country – immensely.”