Justices Thomas and Breyer went to Capitol Hill on Thursday last week to discuss their budget for next year. AP has a good recap of the event here.
The highlight for myself and many other Court-watchers was the requested $800,000 for updates to the Supreme Court website. The Court’s website hasn’t changed substantially since it went online on April 17, 2000. In the years since then, the Court has made small steps towards posting transcripts and recordings online faster and faster.
In 2004, the Court started publishing questions presented for every case andrecording the identity of questioners during oral arguments. In 2007, the Court began requiring an electronic copy of all filings.
At the beginning of his second full term in office, Chief Justice Roberts announced that the Court would release oral argument transcripts on the same day they are heard. Since then, the Court has been increasingly willing to release oral argument recordings in major cases on the same day they are heard. His move towards producing quick information has been generally well-received and I’m sure the Justices appreciate feeding the public more and more in order to quell calls for televised oral arguments. I, for one, am hoping that the new website will feature cert-stage briefs in a more easily accessible manner because even though briefs are public domain, it is difficult to get access to cert. petitions when they are filed.