Just in time for Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court is launching real-time live videostreaming of its oral arguments on the internet.
The court has long posted recorded video of oral arguments on its Minnesota Judicial Branch website, but has not previously streamed them live over the internet.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said Wednesday that the launch has been in the works for some time. The original plan was to start livestreaming its September calendar.
“The technology was ready,” Gildea said. “We have a case that we’re hearing a few days before the September calendar starts, so we’re going to turn it on.”
That case — Ninetieth Minnesota State Senate, et al. vs. Mark B. Dayton, et al. — happens to be one of the most high-profile Supreme Court appeals in recent memory. Dayton is challenging a district court ruling that his May 30 line-item vetoes, which zeroed out the Legislature’s biennial funding, were unconstitutional, null and void.
Refusing Dayton’s demand that the Legislature agree to a condition-laden special session to restore its funding, legislative leaders instead filed suit in Ramsey County District Court. In his July 19 ruling, Chief Judge John H. Guthmann sided with lawmakers and overturned Dayton’s vetoes.
That hearing will be the court’s first livestreamed event. The court plans to post both the livestream and recorded video of oral arguments at www.mncourts.gov/SupremeCourt. After the Dayton appeal, the court will continue livestreaming future oral arguments, Gildea said.
Steps have been taken to ensure that high demand won’t overload servers and block citizens who can’t attend in person from watching online, according to information supplied by the court. An outside vendor has been contracted to handle the additional bandwidth demand for Monday’s hearing.
Gildea said that the court’s decision to livestream oral argument is part of its ongoing efforts to increase public access to the Supreme Court’s work.
“We live in an on-demand, real-time world,” Gildea said. “And this livestreaming is a way for the court to try to meet the people where they are.”