Organizations urge Government to make Live Audio Streaming Accessible

Author : inanunaneni
Publish Date : 2021-09-08


Organizations urge Government to make Live Audio Streaming Accessible

The 76 undersigned civil society, media, disability rights, and government transparency organizations write to urge the Court to commit to providing live audio access to oral arguments on a permanent basis.

Providing live audio access to cases during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has convincingly demonstrated the public’s appetite to observe the operations of the Court. It has also shown that the Court can balance increased public access with the integrity of its proceedings. Equitable access to the Court as an institution is imperative for all Americans. Typically, when the Court is open, only 50 to 100 members of the general public are able to attend in-person oral arguments in each case. But in May 2020, the Court began providing the media pool a live audio feed of oral arguments. To increase accessibility, media organizations provided captions in real time. Instead of the 500 to 1,000 people who would have been able to attend the session’s 10 cases in person, more than 130,000 people streamed the arguments live. See After Film 2021

As of September 2021, oral arguments from the May 2020 session have been streamed over 2 million times, and those from the October 2020 term are fast approaching 1 million streams. The demonstrated public interest in these audio broadcasts confirms that the time has come for regular, live access to the Court’s proceedings. The public interest in keeping live audio access to oral arguments outweighs any potential logistical challenge in offering the same streaming opportunities when the Justices return to the Court in person. Limiting real-time access to the Court to those with the ability and means to travel to Washington, DC, and to wait in line for hours, even overnight, makes the Court inaccessible to most Americans. Every member of the public deserves the same access to what’s happening in these cases before the Court.

All federal courts of appeals have held remote oral arguments since the beginning of the pandemic, and both the 9th and DC Circuits have committed to livestreaming arguments post-pandemic.2 Forty-one states and the District of Columbia stream video of some oral arguments in their jurisdiction’s highest court, while at least six more stream live audio. In providing similar access, the nation’s highest court would follow what the lower courts, both federal and state, have already discovered: Giving the public more insight into judicial proceedings reduces the sense that the courts are somehow separate from the public they serve.

During the Supreme Court’s live oral arguments, large numbers of the public have tuned in, giving many Americans their first opportunity to learn about the Court and its proceedings. These advancements have also provided journalists the opportunity to report to their audiences about cases contemporaneously. The public has a right to know what the most powerful court in our country is doing.

Fair and equal justice can’t be delivered without accountability and transparency. Ensuring that live audio of oral arguments remains accessible to the public and requiring media pool participants to caption that audio in real time with live transcription and American Sign Language interpretation would promote transparency and increase public confidence in the nation’s highest court.

The Court will hear oral arguments by telephone conference on October 5, 6, 7, 13, and 14. In keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19, the Justices and counsel will all participate remotely. The oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. On days when more than one case will be heard, there will be a three minute pause before the second case begins.

The Court will provide a live audio feed of the arguments to ABC News (the network pool chair), the Associated Press, and C-SPAN, and they will in turn provide a simultaneous feed for the oral arguments to livestream on various media platforms for public access. The network pool will distribute the teleconference live audio feed to network subscribers. C-SPAN will distribute the audio live via the Capitol Hill hub to all news organizations accredited by the Congressional Radio and Television Gallery. Media organizations not included in the network pool may access the AP live audio feed via an AP website. For more information, media organizations may contact Jack Auresto, AP Washington deputy bureau chief. C-SPAN will livestream and archive the audio of all of the teleconference oral arguments online.

The oral argument audio and a transcript of the oral arguments will be posted on the Court's website following oral argument each day. Providing the ability to do searches and visualize data in dashboards can only go so far when it comes to observability. If a search takes four hours to complete, it’s going to miss out on four hours of incoming data by the time it finishes. That can still be useful for understanding long-term trends and smoothing out bugs. However, if something is going wrong now, DevOps teams want the most up-to-date data sent to observability platforms and analysis tools so they can react quickly.

With the rise of cloud-native infrastructure and soaring data volumes, enterprises continue to make difficult sacrifices around how to use all of their machine data while controlling costs.



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