U.S. Supreme Court

Group of deaf lawyers will be sworn in to Supreme Court bar

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Thirteen lawyers who are members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association will be sworn in as a group to the U.S. Supreme Court bar next week.

The group will be aided by sign language interpreters and real-time captioning services that will display on the lawyers’ cellphones, the Associated Press, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) and a press release report. The ceremony will be held April 19.

Cellphones are usually banned from the courtroom. The court is setting up a password-protected wireless connection for the phones, but it is still banning their use for other purposes, including photography.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association was created in 2013 and has about 100 members. Its president, Anat Maytal, estimates there are fewer than 300 lawyers nationwide who are deaf or hard of hearing. Maytal, a Baker Hostetler associate, is among the 13 lawyers being sworn in.

Deaf lawyers have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in disability rights cases in 1982 and 2004, according to the National Law Journal story. In the first, a captioning interpreter typed a transcript that displayed on a computer screen after about a four-second delay. In the second, a stenographer created a real-time transcript displayed on a laptop.

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