For the first time in history, you can listen in on the Supreme Court oral arguments live, as justices call in from their homes, where they're working until further notice due to coronavirus social distancing practices.
Normally, the Supreme Court of the United States makes audio of the arguments available online on Fridays, but now, the arguments will be available to stream online, as they happen. The live streams will go on for the first two weeks in May.
Supreme Court Justices will call in by phone conference to hear cases. According to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, justices will ask questions in order of seniority, "instead of the typical free-for-all, and will provide the first opportunity for broad segments of the public to have real-time access to the proceedings of the nation's highest court."
Bruce Collins, general counsel for C-SPAN, called the development unexpected—especially after decades of news organizations fighting for greater transparency into the courtroom.
"The court’s decision to conduct its business during the pandemic by teleconference is not that much of a surprise because so many other organizations have done the same," Collins wrote in the Washington Post. "The remarkable development is the justices’ unexpected step of live coverage. Our network, C-SPAN, has long argued for greater public accessibility to the court and welcomes this development. It has been a long time coming."
First up: The case of the US Trademark Office versus Booking.com, which debates whether “booking” is the generic term for hotel reservation services. Don't worry, they'll get a little more exciting in the next two weeks. On the list of 10 cases to be brought to the Supreme Court are three addressing the release of Donald Trump’s tax records.