The Supreme Court will start next week a new policy of releasing, at the end of each argument week, all of the audiotapes of the cases heard during that week.  This will provide much earlier access to all of the tapes.  Previously, the tapes routinely did not become available until after they had been sent to the National Archives; there, the tapes were not available until the beginning of the Court’s next Term.  In some high-profile cases in recent years, although not during the Court’s last Term, some audiotapes were released on the same day, shortly after the argument had finished.  That quick release policy, however, has now been discontinued.

The Court announced the new release policy in this press announcement.  The earlier availability of the tapes may be of considerable advantage to scholars and other researchers, and to media companies preparing documentaries.  Of course, most news organizations publishing on immediate news schedules prefer same-day release of the tapes in cases of major interest.  Although the announcement does not say so explicitly, it is understood that the Court has discontinued that policy, so that no audiotape will be available on a same-day basis.

The Court’s announcement provides details on how to access the released tapes each week.

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