Burriss on Media: SCOUS News

Apr 9, 2012

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS)  --  The recent Supreme Court arguments regarding the health care lawsuits have sparked numerous calls for a more open court, specifically real-time, or at a minimum, delayed video coverage. But there is apparently some misunderstanding about what anyone actually can, and can’t do relative to news about the court.

For starters, sessions of the court are open to reporters and individuals. To be sure, you can’t record or broadcast the arguments, but there are numerous places, including newspaper, broadcast and internet, that provide transcripts and analysis.

Now, there are two important things you have to remember about the Court:

First, the Supreme Court is just the final step in a process that can take years. But almost all of the original case history is available on innumerable web sites accessible to anyone. So if you want to see briefs, lower court decisions, transcripts and almost every other original document connected with the case, you can. I’ll leave finding them to you, but here’s a hint: Google and Yahoo.

Second, all of the original Supreme Court documents themselves are public. Again, all of the pleadings and arguments are readily available, as are the transcripts, and the audio itself, from the final arguments. And, of course, the final court decisions are widely publicized and available.

Notice I haven’t mentioned the thousands of sites that provide analysis. That’s because all of the analysis is biased and wrong, at least to those who disagree with it. If you want a good laugh, read and compare the comments following stories and analysis on Fox and CNN. Partisans on both sides lash out at the other side, generating a lot of smoke, but absolutely no real insight.

So if you want to really know what the court is doing, you have to read the original documents yourself. And it’s all there. All it takes is a little work, patience and understanding. Qualities that sometimes seem to be in very short supply.

I’m Larry Burriss.