Say “Oh Yeah” for Oyez
Back in June we announced our involvement in taking over control of the popular Supreme Court audio website Oyez. We were a logical choice for Oyez because our missions of public access to the law aligned perfectly, and our affiliation with Cornell will provide both stability and notoriety for Oyez. That June article ended with a promise to update you when we had more to report. Happily, that time has come.
As of December 15th, we officially became co-owners of the Oyez.org domain and website. Though the paperwork is just now getting wrapped up, we at the LII and our partners at Justia have been operating Oyez for several months. We spent the summer working with Oyez’s two full-time employees (as well as Professor Goldman himself, of course) to make sure we understood all the data sources, processes, and related workflows so that we could provide uninterrupted coverage of the Court when oral arguments began again in October.
One big decision we had to face early in that process was who would do the work creating the case pages for each case in the new term. Rather than add something new on short notice for Supreme Court Bulletin students (though the substantive overlap is obvious), we approached some of the returning students at Chicago-Kent who had done the work during the previous term. They were all thrilled to remain on the Oyez team (and to continue to get the paychecks)! So, they’ve been busily and happily summarizing the facts of each new case when the Court grants cert and the opinions in those cases as they’ve already begun to trickle in. If you’d like to help offset our costs in paying them to provide this public good, please consider donating.
LII Staffer Craig Newton also recently met with employees of the National Archive in suburban Washington DC to discuss Oyez. The Archive has been supplying audio to Oyez for several years, and this was our chance to introduce ourselves along with Justia, explain our mission, and assure them that we had every intention to keep the audio collection free and open to all. (We learned that they are big fans of Oyez, as “something like 95%” of all people requesting Supreme Court audio from the government are satisfied when directed to the Oyez website).
While we continue to exercise some new muscles as we work through the Court’s current term, the LII and our partners at Justia already have an eye toward improvements. We’ll be re-branding the Oyez website with our own logos and updating the “About” pages to reflect the new management structure, expanding the selection of available blogs, transitioning the authoring of case-related content to our own students, and possibly seeking out sponsors who wish to attach their name to the Oyez project.
We hope in another six months we will have more news to share about this exciting project.