SCOTUS Audio Lets Citizens Argue Along

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The Supreme Court went viral this week. On Twitter, Facebook and all over the Internet, Americans debated the Supreme Court's hearings on same-sex marriage. This was aided in part by the court's decision to quickly release audio recordings of the justices bantering with lawyers and each other over the issue.

This isn't new. On high profile cases, like Bush v. Gore or the Affordable Care Act, the court tends to release these recordings on the same day. For everything else, Supreme Court reporters have to wait up to a week.

It’s up to Chief Justice John Roberts whether the recordings are released on the same day or not, said ABC News Nightline anchor and veteran Supreme Court reporter Terry Moran. But it’s still unknown what goes into the decision.

 “Media organizations will petition the court in many cases to seek release of audio and sometimes that’s worked and sometimes it hasn’t. How that’s decided at the end of the day is opaque,” Moran said.

Moran also said while some justices enjoy the limelight a high-profile case brings, they prefer to remain above the fray.

“They believe … that part of their authority is that they aren’t part of our talk show culture, our sound bite culture,” Moran said.

Moran spoke Wednesday with WNYC’s Amy Eddings. And to listen and read the Supreme Court’s DOMA arguments, click here


Richard Yeh


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