Lawmakers press Supreme Court for live audio of upcoming decisions

Lawmakers press Supreme Court for live audio of upcoming decisions

More than a dozen members of Congress are pressing the Supreme Court to provide live audio of its upcoming decisions on gay marriage and ObamaCare. 

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBiden confronts sinking poll numbers Congress needs to push for more accountability in gymnasts' tragic sex abuse Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (R-Iowa), along with 15 Democrats, lamented that the Supreme Court “remains almost completely closed from the public eye.”

“We look forward to a debate about the merits of permitting cameras in the court. In the meantime, the court should immediately permit live audio broadcasts of its proceedings,” the group wrote in a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts sent Wednesday.  


They said the court has proven it has the capability and pressed the justices to let the public “hear in real time the arguments and opinions that will shape our society for years to come.”

A spokesman for the court did not respond to a request for comment. 

The court is reaching the end of its term with seven more decisions to hand down. The court quickly posts the decisions on its website once they are handed down. But the justices, at times, read portions of the decision and dissent from the bench — available live only to those in the courtroom. 

In recent years, the court has released same-day transcripts and audio recordings of oral arguments at the end of the week. In the gay marriage case, it made an exception and released the audio on the same day.

“These efforts demonstrate that the court has the capability to release live audio,” the letter reads. 

For years, lawmakers have pressed to open up the courts to audio and video recording to no avail. Lawmakers in both chambers have also unsuccessfully pushed bills that would force the court to allow the technology. 

“People may disagree on the outcome of any given case, but we can all agree that the American public is better served when all three branches of our government are transparent and accessible,” according to the letter. 

The letter was signed by Sens. Grassley, Dick DurbinDick DurbinCOVID-19: US should help Africa, or China will GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE (D-Ill.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThis week: Democrats face mounting headaches Klobuchar: 'It is evil to make it deliberately hard for people to vote' Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   MORE (D-Minn.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame MORE (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — A warning shot on Biden's .5T plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden continues to grapple with Afghanistan chaos Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE (D-Ill.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).