High court on the air

Nevada’s state Supreme Court announced Wednesday it will begin broadcasting all oral appeals arguments over the Internet.

"Webcasting of oral arguments will bring the Supreme Court closer to the people of Nevada," Chief Justice Jim Hardesty said. "Oral arguments are held in only the most important and legally complex cases."

The live video feeds will be found on the court’s Web site: www.nvsuperemecourt.us, beginning with hearings tentatively scheduled for March 2 and 3 in Carson City.

To further enhance an understanding of the cases before the court, justices will begin posting synopses of the cases and legal issues to be argued, the chief justice said.

The court last June webcast oral arguments in a few high-profile cases involving election ballot challenges and the disciplinary proceedings for then-District Judge Elizabeth Halverson. In addition, the state high court has been posting on its Web site audio files, or podcasts, of past oral arguments since September 2007. The podcasts are kept on the Web site for about a month.

For the public to retain confidence in the courts and the justice they deliver, it’s necessary for their proceedings to be open to the public, to the maximum extent compatible with order and dignity. In this day and age — and particularly in a state like Nevada, where the voters live far-flung from the capital — few citizens will ever have the opportunity to witness arguments before the court, in person.

Broadcasting over the Internet is a wise and sensible way to fill that gap. The court’s initiative is to be commended.

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