Heritage Reporting Company Corrects Justice Sotomayor’s Speaking Error
During oral argument in Dobbs, Justice Sotomayor made an understandable speaking error. Around the 19:00 minute mark, she said “I think that’s what both courts below said, that you had no expert say that there is any viability before 23 to 24 months.” She obviously meant “23 to 24 weeks.”
However, the official Supreme Court transcript, prepared by Heritage Reporting Company, corrected this obvious error on p. 21.
What is the protocol for correcting obvious speaking errors by the Justices, or by parties? I am not a fan of this practice. A court reporter should reporter what happens in court. Often small slip-ups by counsel or judges creates grounds for appeal. It is not the reporter’s job to fix a speak-o (as Jonathan Gruber would say).
Still, if we take the “viability” line seriously, a child is really not viable at 24 weeks or even 24 months. An infant, left to fend for himself in the wild, would not survive long. He will still depend on the support of others. A child may not be able to be truly self-sustaining until adolescence.
This issue was explored in a classic episode of South Park involving Eric Cartman’s mother, who sou
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