Y’all may not know this about me, but I love the Supreme Court of the United States. I love it. I have only ever really talked about John Paul Stevens on this blog, and God knows I adore John Paul Stevens, but more generally, I am a massive, massive fan of the Supreme Court. When fall comes and Dahlia Lithwick starts posting her Supreme Court recaps, my heart is filled with the kind of joy that I normally only feel when someone writes a complimentary post about Oscar Wilde and his continued relevance to modern life.
The Supreme Court is by far my favorite branch of government, and that would continue to be true even if, like, the Doctor turned out to be real and got elected to the presidency. The Supreme Court is fantastic because it is a bunch of intelligent people sitting around talking intelligently (mostly) about important (mostly) questions. Even members of the Court of whom I am not very fond nevertheless say smart, insightful things, and sometimes totally surprise me by simultaneously being John Roberts and talking in favorable terms about Jimi Hendrix.
You can take a moment to process that. It was weird for me too.
(Some Supreme Court Justices are famously more taciturn than others, and that is just fine. Some Supreme Court Justices are a creep and I am not interested in what they have to say. Y’all know what I’m talking about.)
So, anyway! My friend told me about this excellent thing, The Oyez Project, a project of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. It posts audio of oral arguments for all the cases that have come before the Supreme Court since 1968 (I believe), plus transcripts for many important cases from History. The recent audio files come with a transcript so you can follow along, and it notes who’s speaking at every moment, so if I am listening to the audio and I think, Who is this no-nonsense fellow who seems so particularly in love with the Constitution?, I can glance at the scrolling notes and see that it is Scalia.
I am writing this post on Monday for to be posted on Wednesday (displacing my review of River of Smoke), and today, the first day after finding out about this website, I have so far listened to the oral arguments for Golan v. Holder, which deals with copyright law (something I am pretty interested in, actually), and then for Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, which deals with what constitutes a minister in a religious organization and thus exempts that position from scrutiny by the EEOC. All very interesting (here’s Dahlia Lithwick’s write-up of the latter), but if I may be honest with you, the case I am most interested in this season — so far — is FCC v. Fox Television Stations. I can. Not. Wait. For FCC v. Fox Television Stations. Or should I call it, The Return of FCC v. Fox Television Stations! FCC v. Fox Television Stations Rides Again! FCC v. Fox Television Stations II: Clarence Thomas Creates Cognitive Dissonance for Jenny by Swinging the Vote in the Direction She Desires It to Be Swung. (That’s the most optimistic of my potential sequel titles.)
You can listen to (and download!) the oral arguments over whether anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional (they were). Or Roe v. Wade! Or Miranda rights! How m.f. cool is that?
Okay. That’s my pitch. You may now feel free to steal my lunch money and stuff me in my locker.