[JURIST] The federal judiciary has approved a pilot program that will allow the public to download free audio recordings of court proceedings over the internet. US District Judge Thomas F. Hogan [profile], executive committee chairman of the policy-making Judicial Conference of the United States [official website], said he views the program as an attempt to make court proceedings more transparent. Court participation in the program, which is set to begin in the next few months, is voluntary. AP has more.
Hogan said the pilot program is not a move toward allowing cameras in courtrooms, which has been a controversial issue. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] re-introduced a bill [JURIST report] in January of this year that would allow US Supreme Court proceedings to be televised, "unless the Court decides, by a vote of the majority of justices, that allowing such coverage in a particular case would constitute a violation of the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court." Several Supreme Court justices have spoken out against televising [JURIST report] Supreme Court hearings, telling lawmakers that allowing cameras in the courtroom would alter the nature of the proceedings. Several federal appeals courts like the Ninth and Seventh Circuits already provide audio recordings [Ninth Circuit audio files] of their oral arguments on their websites.