Same-Day Transcripts for Supreme Court Arguments:
If you're a Supreme Court geek, you're going to be really excited by this news: Starting this fall, the Supreme Court will be posting transcripts of oral arguments on the same day as the argument. Okay, so it's far from same-day video, and it's not quite same-day audio (my own preferred approach), but it's still going to be very helpful for those interested in a case who can't make it to DC for the argument and want to know the details of what happened.

  Here is the text of the Court's announcement:
Beginning with the October 2006 Term, the Court will make the transcripts of oral arguments available free to the public on its Web site,, on the same day an argument is heard by the Court.

In the past, the transcripts had been posted on the Web site approximately two weeks after the close of an argument session. Previously, transcripts could be obtained sooner than they were posted on the Court's Web site by making arrangements in advance and purchasing them from the Court's contract reporting service.

In the past, oral arguments had been transcribed off-site from audio recordings. The Court's current contract reporting service, Alderson Reporting Company, will now utilize the services of a court reporter in the Courtroom and high-speed technology to transcribe the oral arguments more quickly.

Transcripts can be located by clicking on the "Oral Arguments" prompt on the home page of the Court's Web site and selecting "Argument Transcripts."

Transcripts will be listed by case name and the date of oral argument. Transcripts are permanently archived beginning with the 2000 Term on the Court's Web site. Transcripts prior to the 2000 Term are maintained in the Court's Library.
Excellent news. Thanks to Howard and SCOTUSBlog for the link.
A. Nonymous (mail):
and it's not quite same-day audio (my own preferred approach),

Why the preference of audio over transcript? I would think transcript would be have more utility and be more helpful for use in publications and research. Whereas if you want to make use of some statement(s) you have to play the audio and become transcriptionist for a day.

Of course if you are looking for nuance and inflection, audio is the only game in town. Is that it, perhaps?
9.15.2006 9:05am
MikeC&F (mail):
This was a greate move. (And a great way to stall the cameras-in-the-courtroom debate!)
9.15.2006 10:15am
DaveHeal (mail):
Is there a barrier or some institutional resistance to doing the same-day audio? Would seem to me a heck of a lot less work since many (all?) arguments are recorded anyway. Regardless, good news indeed!
9.15.2006 11:23am
A. Nonymous,

Yes, that's mostly it -- hearing the Justices' (and advocates') voices can tell you a lot about the dynamics of the argument that you can't get from a transcript.
9.15.2006 11:54am
benwinograd (mail):
One advantage to audio recordings over written transcripts: Supreme Court followers can listen to arguments on their iPods (while commuting, exercising, etc) rather than stare at their computer screens.
9.15.2006 11:55am
elChato (mail):
Audio would be great, but a transcript is quite helpful to follow along with especially if you don't know all of the justices' voices.

Hopefully we are heading rapidly to the day where all appellate courts will post oral arguments and briefs online.
9.15.2006 3:55pm