Every major Supreme Court decision has two parts: a written opinion and an oral announcement. The former is made public immediately, but the latter is only accessible to the few who are gathered in the courtroom on the day a decision is announced.
You could take a trip to the National Archives and listen to the the audio files there. Or you could wait until each fall and find them online.
This week, The Oyez Project, an initiative at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, posted audio for the opinion announcements for all the major cases the Supreme Court heard in its October 2014 term, which ended in June.
That means you can now hear, download and share what happened inside the courtroom the moment every big case was handed down -- including what Chief Justice John Roberts said when he saved Obamacare a second time, when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced it's a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, and how Justice Samuel Alito affirmed Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol.
But decision days are also noteworthy because the justices sometimes deviate from the script. They may occasionally note their dissents orally -- like Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who did so for the first time last year in an affirmative action case. Or they may even screw up, like when Justice Antonin Scalia mistakenly referred to his colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg as "Justice Goldberg."
"What did I say? Goldberg's gone!" Scalia said to laughter from the courtroom. "Sorry about that, Ruth." That's also at Oyez.
You can relive other memorable dissents from the past term, such as when Scalia called the Affordable Care Act "SCOTUScare." Or when Roberts chastised the court when it ruled for gay marriage, retorting, "Who do we think we are?" Or Justice Stephen Breyer's historic call for a challenge to the death penalty.
If you're feeling resourceful, you can use the audio to re-enact your favorite case with puppies:
For now, this is the next best thing to cameras inside the courtroom, so have at it.
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