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Visitor's Guide to Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Oral Argument

Public Supreme Court proceedings are called "oral arguments," which provide the Justices with the opportunity to ask attorneys questions about the cases. Usually, oral arguments last 40 minutes to an hour. The Sheriff of the Supreme Court calls the court to order. Each side has 20-30 minutes to argue. An electronic timer with green, yellow, and red lights keeps track of time for each argument. Typically the appealing party will open the argument, the other side then responds, and then the appealing party has the last word.

Attending Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Members of the public may attend Supreme Court oral arguments, and seats are provided on a first come, first served basis. Visitors interested in attending oral arguments must be on time. Latecomers will not be allowed to enter the Courtroom.

The Courtroom is located in Room 317 at the north end of the Indiana Statehouse (200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204). The Statehouse is a secure building. Public is only able to enter through the doors on the east (Capitol Avenue) or the west (Senate Avenue) sides of the building.

The Courtroom doors are closed a few minutes before an oral argument begins, and no entry into the Court is permitted once the doors are closed. We ask that you speak softly in the lobby immediately outside the Courtroom when court is in session. A video monitor is stationed in the lobby area for real time viewing of oral arguments outside the Courtroom.

The Courtroom is handicap accessible. Assisted hearing devices are available for the hearing impaired. Please request assisted hearing devices from the Supreme Court's ADA Coordinator, Heather Falks, via email to with at least 48 hours' notice.

Rules for Attending Supreme Court Oral Arguments

  • No food or drink is allowed in the Courtroom (gum, candy, water bottles, coffee, etc.)
  • No signs, buttons, clothing, etc. which convey support for any party or issue involved in the argument will be allowed in the Courtroom
  • Please do not talk during arguments, only attorneys arguing the case are allowed to speak in court
  • Pictures may be taken before or after the argument but not when the argument is in session
  • No video or audio recordings may be made during a Supreme Court oral argument (unless prior permission has been obtained, see media policies
  • All pagers, cellular telephones, cameras and other electronic equipment must be turned off or silenced during oral arguments
  • The Supreme Court does allow the quiet use of personal computing devices (e.g., laptops, iPads, smart phones, etc.) in the back row of the gallery with authorization by the Supreme Court Sheriff at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the hearing, although they may not be used to make a recording of any kind or to send or receive a telephone call


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