Supreme Court Watch: Announcing Same-Day Audio Release Of Health Care Arguments

While prior requests were been made to televise the three days of oral argument on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court decided to release solely the audio recordings of the oral argument, which will be posted on the same day of the argument, instead of at the end of the week


Given the historic and constitutional importance of the upcoming oral arguments for the cases challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is not surprising that interest in hearing or seeing the arguments is heightened. Last November, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. was asked to televise the Supreme Court proceedings of the upcoming oral argument on the constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health care law), including by Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and CSPAN.

According to the Supreme Court announcement released today:

Because of the extraordinary public interest in those cases, the Court will provide the audio recordings and transcripts of the oral arguments on an expedited basis through the Court's Website.

The Court will post the audio recordings and unofficial transcripts as soon as the digital files are available for uploading to the Website. The audio recordings and transcripts of the March 26-28 morning sessions should be available no later than 2 p.m. The recording and transcript of the March 28 afternoon session should be available no later than 4 p.m.


At the end of the month, the U.S. Supreme Court has set aside three days or oral argument as follows:

  • Monday, March 26, 2012: Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (No. 11-398) (Anti-Injunction Act) (90 mins. for argument) (Question Presented)
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012: Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (No. 11-398) (Minimum Coverage Provision) (2 hrs. for argument) (Question Presented)
  • Wednesday, March 28, 2012:

    • National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (11-393) (Severability) (Question Presented); Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida No. 11-400 (Severability) (Question Presented) (90 mins. for argument) [
    • Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (No. 11-400) (Medicaid) (Question Presented)

In addition to the constitutional and legal issues raised in the cases, it will be interesting to observe the reaction to the same day access to the audio of the oral argument. Will this be another step closer to eventual televised proceedings of Supreme Court arguments?

Congress continues to show an interest in televised Supreme Court proceedings. As pointed out by the Federal Evidence Review in the Federal Evidence Blog, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a measure on televising Supreme Court proceedings (see Congress Watch: Senate Committee Hearing On New Bill Permitting Televised Supreme Court Proceedings (S. 1945)) and has made a generally favorable report of the legislation on this to the Senate. See Congress Watch: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Measure To Televise Supreme Court Proceedings (S.1945) .

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