Monday, October 16, 2006

(10.16.06) Recommends:

Supreme Court Oral Arguments via the Oyez Project.

You think I'm kidding about this, but I'm not. After all, if you were only to listen to rock music all day, not only would you most likely go deaf, and probably turn to a life of drugs, but you wouldn't know much about our most important political and social issues. Or, at any rate, you'd be terribly boring. So, put some Oyez into your ear, hommie.

From the The Oyez Project ("oyez, oyez, oyez" being the thing they say to kick off a supreme court session; the equivalent of "hear ye, hear ye...") website:

"The OYEZ Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. The Project also provides authoritative information on all justices and offers a virtual reality 'tour' of portions of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of some of the justices."

Here's a so-brief-as-to-be-useless-generally-but-for-purposes-of-explainting-this-
website-useful primer on how the Supreme Court works:
1. The Court agrees to review a case.
2. Lawyers for both sides of the litigation "brief" the court (the sides write essentially a book report on the legal issues at play).
3. The Supreme Court justices read the "book reports" and start formulating their opinion about the issues.
4. The lawyers come before the court and argue their book reports in front of the Justices.
5. The Justices can ask any last minute questions about the book reports.
6. The Justices go back to their chambers to think again about the book reports.
7. The Court releases an opinion.

So the oral arguments that you will hear on this website represent stage 4. The issues might be boring, or complex. But the oral advocacy skills are always excellent, and the questions of the justices are piercing. I recommend going to the featured audio section, and giving some of the arguments a listen. The Court is a mysterious body; this site makes an important contribution in humanizing the experience.

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