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Supreme Court allows audio taping of affirmative action arguments

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Supreme Court allows audio taping of affirmative action arguments

  • Tapes from two oral arguments were immediately released for only the second time in the Court’s history.

April 1, 2003 — The audio tapes from two sessions of oral arguments given in the Supreme Court today were immediately released due to the large volume of interest in the cases. The cases originated in Michigan and concern the legality of affirmative action policies.

Lawyers for the University of Michigan were pleased with the decision, according to the Associated Press, stating that there is nothing like hearing the arguments personally, especially considering the degree of interest in the case.

Previously, tapes of Supreme Court arguments had only been released this quickly in the 2000 presidential election cases involving candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore. Usually tapes remain sealed until the end of the Court’s session.

The arguments in both cases lasted one hour each and were scheduled to be played in their entirety for the news media immediately following the second case’s noon conclusion.

The audiotapes were made available via three feeds. One was through the network pool, which offered an offsite, simultaneous feed to its member news organizations.

Another option was for press with congressional credentials. These journalists were allowed to review the tapes in the House and Senate Radio and Television Galleries at the U.S. Capitol.

The final means of accessing the tapes was through an onsite feed available to news organizations not belonging to the Supreme Court’s radio and television pool system.

(Grutter v. Bollinger; Gratz v. Bollinger) KD

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© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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