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Same Day Audio for ACA Hearings: Top 3 Ideas for Listening Parties

By Robyn Hagan Cain on March 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Despite begging and pleading and cable-news cajoling, the Supreme Court has not relented on the cameras in the Court issue for this month’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) hearings.

But proving that the Nine aren’t completely immune to the power of public pressure, audio recordings of oral arguments in the case will be available on the Supreme Court website the same day as the hearings, reports SCOTUSblog.

Ever since the Supreme Court agreed to hear the individual mandate challenge in November, people have been buzzing about televised broadcasts of the hearings. In December, the Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony on Senate Bill 410, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2011, which would allow cameras in the Supreme Court. C-SPAN and other news outlets sent letters to the Court asking for permission to broadcast the hearings.

No one should be surprised that the justices didn't cave to the cameras in the Court request; Chief Justice Roberts made it clear last year that he was opposed to the idea. And despite the public pleas for live broadcasts, we can't imagine that many people would have watched live hearings. (Doesn't everyone watch TV via DVR or online streaming these days?)

If this is sad news for you, we have a few ideas for how you can turn this individual mandate lemon into SCOTUS lemonade.

1. Autotune. Hearings are always more fun when you can't decide whether it's Justice Alito or T-Pain grilling the litigators. Here are step-by-step instructions to help you Autotune your SCOTUS audio files.

2. Bingo. Gather your fellow SCOTUS-nerds after work for a listening party, complete with custom bingo cards featuring squares with ACA keywords and questions from the justices. (We don't recommend dedicating a square to Justice Thomas since he rarely speaks.) Care to make it interesting? Just check your local laws before offering money or prizes for your bingo winner; bingo is highly regulated in many states. (We learned this the hard way.)

3. Dramatic Reading. Even better, skip the recording and kick it old school with same-day transcripts. Host a dramatic re-enactment; it might be more entertaining than real thing. If you really want to dress the part of your favorite justice, you'll need to borrow a Bentley and Simon J-71 robe. (We called the company; it takes 6 weeks to get a J-71, and they don't do rush orders.)

Okay, so America lost its appeal for live broadcasts of the ACA hearings, but aren't same-day recordings the next best thing?

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