Supreme Court Closes To The Public | Now Is A Really Good Time To Talk Live Audio Of SCOTUS Hearings
March 12, 2020
The Supreme Court just announced it will be closed to the public until further notice amid the coronavirus pandemic, however the building will remain open for “official business.” Its next oral arguments are scheduled for March 23, and it’s not yet clear if justices plan to go forward with those in-person hearings, or institute ways to broadcast or livestream them for the broader public — something they’ve been called on to do as part of their ordinary processes anyway.
IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN|
Fix the Court has long advocated for the Supreme Court to make itself more transparent and accessible to the broader public, supporting cameras in the courtroom and at the very least the live audiostreaming of arguments. FTC’s Executive Director GABE ROTH issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s announced closure: “Given the crowds that often gather in and around the Supreme Court, not to mention the advanced age of several of the justices, it’s the right call to close the building to the public until further notice. That said, if this state of affairs continues through March 23 – the next time the justices hear arguments – the court should at a minimum permit the public to listen to a livestream of argument audio from its website. We believe the court already has this capacity, as it streamed a Justice Scalia memorial service in Nov. 2016, and any technological gaps could be filled in by the nearby D.C. Circuit, which since Sept. 2018 has offered live online audio for all of its hearings. Live audio is the smartest way to balance the now-competing concerns of public safety and public access.”
SURE, GO AHEAD|
The Supreme Court yesterday said the Trump administration can continue enforcing its “Remain in Mexico” policy requiring asylum-seekers stay in Mexico while their claims are heard. JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR was the only justices who dissented from the high court’s decision, and it was the third time SCOTUS prevented lower courts from blocking PRESIDENT TRUMP’S immigration policies.
MUST THE SHOW GO ON?|
Marcia Coyle with The National Law Journal reports that even though the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced law schools to cancel classes, and SCOTUS to close itself to the public for now, the show seems to still want to go on at the Supreme Court. At the time of her reporting, litigation clinics at Georgetown and Stanford were said to be moving forward with their preparations of advocates for upcoming arguments at the high court.
“Why do I think that anyone who cares about preserving women’s access to abortion should be seriously worried? Wouldn’t a state-specific win for Louisiana, one that left existing precedents on the books, represent a reprieve from looming disaster, a moderate place for this conservative court to land, however tentatively or temporarily? The answer to that question is an emphatic ‘no.'” NYT’s Linda Greenhouse reacts to the high court’s expected approach to its current abortion case out of Louisiana, and she wants to make very clear that there is no moderation or middle ground in any judgement from the high court that gives an inch to Louisiana’s abortion law, or any other.
Adav Noti writes in The Atlantic that we should be prepared for total chaos (as if there’s not enough of that already!) depending on how justices rule in their upcoming “faithless electors” cases. Noti explains, “These cases challenge the constitutionality of legal requirements that presidential electors—the people who physically cast their state’s electoral votes—must vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state. The electors bringing these lawsuits argue that the Constitution gives them the right to vote for anyone for president, regardless of the will of the voters in the state they represent. If, as many experts expect, the court’s originalist majority agrees with the electors, the entire Electoral College system will be upended just months before voters go to the polls.”