RTDNA: Supreme Court Should Release Expedited Audio

Request follows oral arguments in gun rights case

The Radio-Television Digital News Association Wednesday said it was disappointed that the Supreme Court had turned down a request for expedited audio tapes from Tuesday's oral arguments in gun rights case McDonald v. Chicago.

RTDNA was not a party to the broadcasters' request, but pointed out it helped set the precedent of at least the potential for same-day release of the tapes when it successfully petitioned the court back in 2000 to release the arguments in Bush v. Gore, though that was one of the biggest cases in the Court's history, arguably deciding a presidential election. RTDNA also pointed out that the court did provide same-day release of the 2008 arguments in another gun case--the challenge to D.C.'s gun law.

"The Supreme Court is the ultimate people's court, and people have the right to hear and see what goes on there," said RTDNA Chairman Stacey Woelfel in a statement. "It's disappointing that the news media are not allowed to use their best tools to deliver this important story to their audiences."

The Court's policy is to send the audio recordings at the end of each Court Term to the National Archives, where they are made available to the public," said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg. "The Court has made a few, rare exceptions to this policy when it has released audio on the same day that an argument has been heard, made available through the network pool to distribute for broadcast immediately following the argument. These exceptions have been prompted by requests from the media and have been made for arguments in which extremely heightened public interest has been demonstrated. "