Courthouse doors opened just a little wider to the public this week, with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announcement that it will provide live audio streaming of all its hearings. The new access will begin January 6 in Pasadena, when the court provides the service for a week-long series of hearings.
This is the first time any appeals court has provide live streaming of arguments. The 9th Circuit and other appeals courts have provided next day audio and video of selected arguments, but not live coverage.
The 9th Circuit has experimented with live television coverage in major cases in which media requests for live coverage were made. One of the first live sessions was the 11-judge review of balloting in the recall election of California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.
Between 1991 and 2005, the court fielded 205 requests to allow media coverage of oral arguments and granted 133, under a pilot program to allow recordings, according to Congressional testimony by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain.
The 9th Circuit hears appeals from federal courts in nine states: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii.
Oral arguments are scheduled for one week each month in different courthouses around the circuit’s nine states.