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Key appeals court to start livestreaming oral arguments

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The nation’s second most powerful court will begin livestreaming audio of oral arguments in all cases, Chief Judge Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said arguments will be livestreamed on the court’s website in all cases, except when classified or sealed matters must be discussed.

“This is an important additional step in bringing transparency to our proceedings,” Garland said in a statement.

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In December, the court agreed to livestream any oral argument upon request in an individual case.

Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates transparency in the federal judiciary, praised the court for its decision.

“The D.C. Circuit has presented a logical roadmap for other appeals courts, including the Supreme Court, to follow that will make their work more accessible to the public,” he said in a statement to The Hill.

“Begin with same-day audio and assess; try live audio for arguments with heightened interest; and then move to live audio in all cases once a court and its judges feel comfortable with the technology.”

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is not the first to start live streaming all cases.

The California-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals in cases from federal judicial districts in nine states, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, has been livestreaming video and archiving all oral arguments since April 2015.

The Richmond, Va.-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed audio of oral arguments to be live streamed in the case against President Trump’s travel ban last year.

The Supreme Court does not livestream audio or video of oral arguments, but a transcript is released the same day a case is heard and audio recordings are posted at the end of each argument week.

The court has on occasion agreed to release same-day audio of an argument. This term, audio was released the same day for the case challenging the legality of Trump’s travel ban.

Tags Donald Trump Merrick Garland

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