Friday, September 15, 2006

Responsiveness coming slowly to the Supremes?

Last year I took a night to sleep on the steps of the Supreme Court and catch the oral argument in Grokster v. MGM. I very nearly didn't get in. Lawyers for the various impacted industries had paid people hundreds of dollars to sleep out overnight for them, and many of the seats in the courtroom were occupied by people who were uninterested in the case, but who were getting sworn into the Supreme Court Bar- something which surely could have taken place at some other time. My friend Mako wrote about the process in a lot of detail in a post titled 'SCOTUS v. The Public'- the title efficiently capturing how he felt about the whole thing.

So that's why I was excited to see this little piece of news today: the Supreme Court is going to publish same day transcripts of their oral arguments. While I can appreciate that it is valuable for at least one of our branches of government to not be rushed and overly responsive to the Immediate Demands Of The People, this does seem like a nice step in the direction of increased transparency, in a way which does not impact the deliberative aspect of the Court's role. Given the increased recent public interest in the Court and the Court's methods of decision making, it seems like there will be inevitable pressure for more such transparency. It will be interesting to see if we ever get the real-time audio or video that the news organizations badly want, and the Court has (so far) just as badly wanted to avoid.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home