MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Supreme Court announced a historic change to how it operates Wednesday.
The high court will livestream oral arguments on its website starting next week.
It is the first time regular video streaming of its proceedings has been allowed.
“The Minnesota Supreme Court is committed to maintaining the public’s trust,” said Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. “We live in an on-demand, real-time world. And this is another way that the courts in Minnesota are trying to meet the people where they are.”
The high court outreach effort includes court hearings at local high schools.
Court documents and opinions went online five years ago, a major undertaking.
Livestreaming is a logical next step, according to experts who follow the Minnesota Courts.
“When there’s media involvement, including this streaming of video, I mean, it all kind of, it affects the culture, it just does,” said Barbara Jones, editor of the legal publication Minnesota Lawyer. “But I don’t think it will affect it in a bad way.”
The first livestream next week is a big one: The Minnesota Legislature is suing Gov. Mark Dayton for eliminating its operating funds.
The court begins regular livestreams in September, when its fall calendar begins.
“At the end of the day, what goes on in the courtroom is the people’s business,” Gildea said. “And the people have a right to see it.”
Minnesota’s one of only a handful of states that does not allow cameras in all its courtrooms on a regular basis
Two thirds of states do allow cameras, including Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota.