Enlarge / Justices pose for a group portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Supreme Court is setting aside a request to live stream its oral arguments.

The attorney for Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. told members of Congress that live streaming even the audio portion of its oral arguments might impact the outcome.
“The Chief Justice appreciated and shares your ultimate goal of increasing public transparency and improving public understanding of the Supreme Court,” Roberts’ attorney, Jeffrey P. Minear, wrote (PDF) the four members of Congress seeking (PDF) to have the court’s gerrymandering case live streamed in audio. “I am sure you are, however, familiar with the Justices’ concerns surrounding the live broadcast or streaming of oral arguments, which could adversely affect the character and quality of the dialogue between the attorneys and Justices.

Consequently, the Court is unable to accommodate your request.”
For years, members of Congress and the public have been trying to get the high court to televise or to live stream the audio of their oral arguments, in a bid to make the court more transparent.

The response has always been an affirmative “NO” out of fear that it could affect the proceedings.

The court’s oral arguments are open to the public, however, and the audio version of an oral argument is usually made publicly available on the Friday of the week that the case was argued.

The court’s opinions are also posted to its website when the court releases them.
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