- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2020

Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Patrick Leahy are calling on the Supreme Court to maintain live broadcasting of oral argument audio after the coronavirus shutdowns end.

The Iowa Republican and Vermont Democrat wrote on Friday to Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts to praise the audio livestreams of arguments this month, and the two Judiciary Committee members also want the chief justice to push for live video broadcasting.

“We write to urge the Supreme Court to make permanent its recent efforts to increase transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing live audio streams of all oral arguments commencing with its October 2020 term,” wrote Sens. Grassley and Leahy. “Moreover, we urge the Court to build upon these measures by providing live video access to arguments as well—a commonsense reform that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support in Congress.”

When the Supreme Court resumed work amid the coronavirus shutdowns nationwide, the justices allowed live broadcasts of oral arguments to be available to the press for the first time in its history. Previously, the Supreme Court would generally make transcripts of the arguments publicly available on the same day as an argument with the audio available later in the week.

Lower federal courts and state courts used live video and audio broadcasts well before the coronavirus shutdowns. Some courts have continued the live broadcasting practice during the coronavirus outbreak to include livestreaming their arguments made via videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom.

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