The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will make same-day transcripts of its oral arguments available free on its Web site, the quickest and most complete public access to its proceedings the court has ever offered, reports the Washington Post. There is no sign that the court is about to yield to calls for live television coverage, which the justices have steadfastly refused. But, in the quiet, tradition-bound world of the Supreme Court, yesterday’s decision was almost revolutionary, court analysts said.
“It’s a tremendous opening to the outside world,” said Richard Lazarus, a Georgetown University law professor. It was the biggest step the court has taken in the direction of greater public access since John G. Roberts Jr. took over as chief justice almost a year ago. Previously, free transcripts were not posted on the court’s site until two weeks after oral argument. Anyone who wanted a same-day transcript had to pay hundreds of dollars to the court’s transcription service.