Two months ago, the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit became just the second federal appellate court to begin posting video of its oral arguments online. The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit was the trailblazer when it comes to online oral argument video, and that court now streams live on YouTube the oral arguments of nearly all of its cases. Moreover, if you miss the live-stream of a Ninth Circuit argument, you can replay the argument on demand on YouTube anytime thereafter.
The Third Circuit, by contrast, decided to take a markedly different tack when it comes to posting oral argument video online. Adopting a set of procedures that even the most hardened bureaucrat would find inspirational, the Third Circuit solicits the views of counsel for the opposing parties both before and after the oral argument concerning whether the video of an oral argument should be posted online. Even then, the Third Circuit will only post an oral argument video online if “the panel unanimously agrees that an argument presents issues of significant interest to the public, the bar, or the academic community.” Thus, when it comes to posting the video of an oral argument, majority does not rule, and even one judge on the panel can veto the idea if he wishes.
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