While we’ll be trying to gain entrance into the Supreme Court to hear Schwarzenegger vs EMA oral arguments on November 2, even if questionable credentials or a nefarious past preclude us from gaining access, a recording of the arguments will be made available on the SCOTUS website.
The new recording release initiative, as detailed on the SCOTUS website, begins with the current October term and will see audio files posted to the SCOTUS website on Fridays, under the Oral Arguements section of the site's menu.
The Oyez Project website details the rather sad state of Supreme Court audio recordings, which began way back in 1955 with the introduction of a then state-of-the-art reel-to-reel recorder. Recordings were “principally for use by the justices and their clerks,” though they were also archived. The tape-based medium led to a multitude of problems, including degradation of the recordings over the years.
In 2005 the Court abandoned the analog recording process for a digital one, with audio recorded to mp3 files, but “also selected a low standard for its mp3 recordings, further impeding the quality of the resulting audio files.”