On this date in 2005, the Supreme Court of New Jersey began to provide live webcasts of its oral arguments. The very first case argued, NCP Litigation Trust v. KPMG LLP, 187 N.J. 353 (2006), was one in which I was involved. I attended the oral argument but did not argue myself. Thus, since January 3, 2005, the public has been able to view oral arguments of cases large and small in real time. More recently, the Court expanded the availability of archived oral arguments (but not current ones) to mobile devices.
There is an ongoing debate about whether oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States should be televised. As discussed here, the experience of the Supreme Court of New Jersey (among other courts) with webcasting shows that there would be no harm to the processes of the Court, and the public’s understanding of how the Court works unquestionably would be enhanced by televising its oral arguments. Presumably, over time, resistance to webcasting of those arguments will weaken, and the Supreme Court of the United States will join the Supreme Court of New Jersey and others in the twenty-first century.