Supreme Court Hearings Are A Hit In Cyberspace

The Mississippi State Supreme Court Chamber is open for the world to see. Since the beginning of April, oral arguments have been broadcast live over the Internet. Chief Justice Edwin Pittman says on the first day, the site received nearly 600 hits.

"The second day, after our first day of 600, we dropped down to 35, and we think that's more the way it will be," Justice Pittman says. "Primarily lawyers, maybe law students and litigants will be able to look in and see how their case is presented at this level in this court."

Mississippi is one of only three states that shows supreme court arguments live over the Internet. Pittman says the knowing the proceedings are now visible worldwide holds the lawyers and the court more accountable.

"But there's also this idea that the public can view, and we remove some of the mysticism, if you will, about a supreme court chamber or argument or action. They'll have at least the ability to learn more about what we do and how we do it."

Lance Thornhill also works on the web site, but behind the scenes. Thornhill says the site gets a lot of initial connections, but many people don't watch the entire argument. He says that could be because the audio portion is better than the video.

"They'll always hear it and the video frames per second, the video quality is real low," he says.

But the number of people pleased with the site is high, so the court of appeals will be next to hit the Internet.

Only live proceedings are available to view on-line. If you want to see the webcast, check out the court's Web site at From there, click on the "Docket Calendar" button at the top of the screen. You can check out the broadcast schedule to see when the next hearing will be.