Supreme Court Oral Argument Audio Recordings

This from SCOTUS Blog:

“Starting next week, the Court will release on its own website the audiotape recordings of all of the arguments at the end of each argument week. This will be much faster release than under the prior policy, when they were not available for months — unless, as in a few high-profile cases, the Court released them on the same day of argument — a policy now discontinued.”

Starting with the October Term 2010, visitors to the Supreme Court site can download the FREE MP3 files by clicking on the “Oral Arguments” link from the home page and then clicking on the “Argument Audio”.  The argument audio will be posted on Fridays after Conference.

More details about this new policy are available in the Supreme Court’s press release.

Source of Information or ‘Dog and Pony Show’?: Judicial Information Seeking During U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument, 1963-1965 & 2004-2009

Source of Information or ‘Dog and Pony Show’?: Judicial Information Seeking During U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument, 1963-1965 & 2004-2009

by James Cleith Phillips (University of California, Berkeley – School of Law) and Edward Carter (Brigham Young University)

Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 50, pp. 101-203, 2010


Scholars and lawyers have long debated what role, if any, oral argument plays in the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision-making process. While some have attempted anecdotally to determine whether or not Justices use oral argument to gather information in order to decide a case, few have attempted to investigate oral argument empirically. Additionally, no scholar to date has specifically measured the levels of information-seeking behavior during oral argument of individual Justices. Finally, there have been few studies attempting to quantitatively compare oral argument behavior in different time periods. This study attempts to address such deficiencies in Supreme Court scholarship.

Source: LSN Experimental & Empirical Studies Abstracts, Vol. 10, No. 84: Oct 12, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Some of my favorite websites/databases, part I

We all have them, our go-to, must view websites and databases that make life on the reference desk a bit easier.  In what I hope will become a weekly posting, I will highlight some of those that I have come to rely on for their timely updates and superb content.

With the teaching and study of constitutional law one of the focuses of scholarly life at SLS, keeping on top of the Supreme Court’s docket is a daily function of the reference desk.  Key to our ability to get copies of decisions as soon as they appear and track down amicus briefs filed at any stage of a case, is SCOTUSblog.  This website, spearheaded by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe*, is one stop shopping for everything Supreme Court related.  Recently added to the site is their SCOTUSWiki, with previews, recaps, and analysis of cases before the Court.

I’ve made checking this blog a morning ritual and have come to think of it as an indispensable tool of the trade.

*(as full disclosure, please note that Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe have both been lecturers at SLS)