Published on: Friday, May 13, 2022

Livestreaming of federal appellate court arguments could outlast the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal judiciary has told U.S. lawmakers, with all but one circuit court indicating plans to at least consider keeping the practice going (article available here).

U.S. District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, in a Feb. 25 letter the lawmakers said the judiciary is working to determine to what extent remote access to oral arguments should continue post-pandemic.

Before March 2020, when states began imposing stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus, only two appellate courts had regularly streamed oral arguments online, the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

But with physical access to courthouses restricted because of the pandemic, all thirteen federal appeals courts like the Supreme Court provided remote access to hear oral arguments, and Mauskopf cited twelve as saying they will consider continuing to do so or already plan to. Most stream audio only, though the Ninth Circuit streams video.