Supreme Court to Release Same-Day Audio for Same-Sex Marriage Case
The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that it would release audio recordings of the upcoming same-sex marriage hearing on the same day. Oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on April 28, 2015.
Lawyers for both sides will have a total of 90 minutes to address whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. The remaining hour will be devoted to oral arguments whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
The decision to provide same-day audio comes amidst calls for the Supreme Court to provide greater access to the public and the media. Lawmakers, the media, and public transparency advocates have all urged the Court to allow television recording, particularly in key cases.
“This is not some mystical, druidic priesthood that periodically deigns to review constitutional issues and hand down their wisdom from on high,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who is seeking a legislative solution, recently stated. “It is a human institution, it’s a branch of government, and it needs to come into the 21st century.”
Nonetheless, the justices recently rejected a similar request in King v. Burwell, the closely followed challenge to the Affordable Care Act. C-SPAN had asked the Court to release same-day audio, while the Oyez Project had asked for the audio to be live streamed to a public room within the Court building.
While the Court does not allow cameras in the courtroom, it authorized the audio recording oral arguments in 1955. Before 2010, the recordings from one Term of Court were not available until the beginning of the next Term. The recording, which are maintained at The National Archives and Records Administration, are now also available on the Court’s website.
Typically, the audio recordings of all oral arguments heard by the Supreme Court of are available to the public at the end of each argument week. However, given the importance of the case, the Court has granted the media’s request to release the recordings on an expedited basis.
According to a news release, “The Court will post the audio recording and unofficial transcript as soon as the digital files are available for uploading to the Website. The audio recording and transcript should be available no later than 2 p.m. on April 28.”
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