Thursday, June 09, 2011

The $26 Oral Argument

Jason Mazzone

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit heard oral argument on the constitutionality of the new health care law. According to a news report:
A crush of people gathered outside the 11th Circuit nearly three hours before the arguments were held to guarantee a spot, and the court opened an adjoining courtroom for the spillover crowd. The cramped room was packed with high-profile attorneys and politicians, including Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, who sat in the front row. In a rare move, the court decided to sell $26 audiotapes of the arguments for those who missed out.
Public access to information about our federal judicial system is notoriously poor. Among other obvious problems: the Supreme Court's clumsy 20th-century website and the fees paid via the PACER system to view judicial filings.

It's a safe bet that the "high-profile attorneys and politicians" were not lining up three hours before the arguments to get a seat in the 11th Circuit's courtroom. And an audiotape? Who uses those? Plus at $26, this one must be among the priciest audiotapes one can buy.

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