Chief Justice John Roberts denied a request from CNN and other news outlets on Wednesday to release same-day audio of oral arguments next week in a highly anticipated case concerning the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
No television cameras or live broadcasts of oral arguments are permitted, but the justices have at times released an audio recording on the same day in controversial cases, such as the 2012 Obamacare lawsuit or the travel ban lawsuit.
The case is one of the most significant cases of the term, as the justices will review lower court opinions that held that the administration violated federal law and the Constitution when it decided include the question.
Critics of the proposed question say that adding respondents about citizenship could depress census participation rates among noncitizens, resulting in an undercount in areas with high immigrant populations and skewing congressional representation among the states.
The court will hear arguments in the case – brought by states, cities and non-profit organizations – on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
Transcripts will be released soon after oral arguments, but audio of oral arguments won’t be released until the following Friday.
“The Chief Justice has asked me to respond to let you know that the Court plans to follow its usual practices,” Kathleen L. Arberg, the court’s public information officer, said in a letter. Roberts declined to elaborate on his ruling.
The denial infuriated those who believe the court should make its deliberations more transparent.
“Even for those who accept the objections to cameras in the courtroom, or to live SCOTUS oral argument audio, there is simply not good reason for the Court to not release audio on the same day in all cases, and especially those that are clearly of significant public interest,” said CNN contributor and University of Texas Law School professor Steve Vladeck.