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 April 20, 2023

Supreme Court accidentally airs audio of opinion announcements

The Supreme Court unintentionally streamed the audio of its opinion announcements on Wednesday.

The live audio feed, a practice started during the COVID-19 pandemic, was temporarily continued on Wednesday as the court released three new decisions.

The concern

"The long-standing tradition of reading opinions from the bench was halted from March 2020 to December last year, as the court opted to issue opinions only on its website," the Washington Examiner reported.

"The National Archives will make the opinion announcement audio available for public access around the start of the court's next term in the fall, though it was not immediately clear whether the Wednesday live recording would mark a change of tradition," it added.

The reaction

"The court has resisted live-streaming opinion announcements, the thinking seeming to be that they want the focus to be on the written opinions," Greg Stohr wrote.

"Bench statements can vary a bit from the opinion and don't necessarily have majority sign-off for every word," he added.

"The Supreme Court is current live streaming the audio of its opinion announcements!" Politico legal editor James Romoser also noted.

The court has not yet announced why the audio was made available during the court's announcement though it appears clear that the issue was not intentional and unplanned.

The Washington Examiner stated that no response has yet been received in its request for information about the matter.

The audio follows a leak of an opinion in last year's case over abortion rights that led to widespread controversy and protests at the homes of justices following the unprecedented sharing of information.

The latest effort, though more modest in its sharing, represents another change from the norm for the Supreme Court that will likely be closely scrutinized by those involved and by the media.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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