C-SPAN just announced that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. today approved its request for same-day release of the audio of Supreme Court oral arguments set for Dec. 5 in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States. The cases, testing the habeas corpus rights of Guantanamo detainees, was deemed of sufficient public interest to warrant same-day release, rather than the traditional schedule of releasing oral argument transcripts to the National Archives at the end of each Court term.
This exception from usual practice has been allowed once or twice a term, more or less, since 2000 in response to media requests for access to the audio, which makes broadcast coverage of oral arguments more complete. Last term, the Court allowed same-day release twice, first in November in the partial-birth abortion cases, and then in December for the Seattle and Louisville cases on the use of race in public school class assignments. C-SPAN Radio will air the audio as soon as it becomes available, usually minutes after the oral argument, and the audio will be made available to other media for excerpting on radio, television and the web.
The advocates who will be heard during the hourlong argument are among the best: former solicitor general Seth Waxman for the detainees, and current SG Paul Clement for the Bush Administration.