Pa. Supreme Court to air first live oral argument on cable access TV

By Jon Campisi | Jan 19, 2012

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that it will air its first live oral argument on local cable access television next week.

The Pennsylvania Cable Network, the state equivalent of CSPAN, will televise the high court’s session on the state’s legislative redistricting plan on Jan. 23.

The move comes after the Supreme Court late last year agreed to air broadcasts of its proceedings on PCN. As part of the earlier agreement, oral arguments would be taped and broadcast at a later date.

The new move marks the first time the high court’s proceedings will be aired as they actually happen.

The decision to air oral arguments live came about after cable network executives asked the justices for permission to do so, citing the importance of the case before them.

“The Supreme Court agreed to grant the request for this hearing, noting the profound effect the redistricting plan would have on political districts across the Commonwealth,” states a news release from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which announced the live televising.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Supreme Court’s Harrisburg courtroom on the fourth floor of the state capitol building.

Eleven appeals will be heard during the session. The appeals contest the constitutionality of the new election maps drawn up for the 203 House districts and 50 Senate districts.

Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature engaged in a redistricting plan this year, one that caught the ire of members of the opposing party, with Democrats claiming the reapportionments were designed to benefit the state GOP, and not the electorate.

The electoral maps are not considered finalized until the high court approves them.

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