Retired law professor replicates historic Brown v Board of Education oral arguments using AI

The output garnered mixed reviews

Retired law professor replicates historic Brown v Board of Education oral arguments using AI

Jerry Goldman, the retired law professor and founder of Oyez multimedia archive of US Supreme Court materials, has used AI to recreate an audio of the oral arguments during the Brown v. Board of Education litigation, according to ABA Journal.

“It was remarkable,” said retired journalist Tony Mauro who covered Supreme Court topics in his Marble Palace Blog.

“Typically, the tapings of Supreme Court arguments come out tinny and distant. But listening to the new AI version is easy and smooth. I felt as if Thurgood Marshall were speaking a few feet away from me,” he added.

Meanwhile, Thurgood Marshall Jr., the son of the Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP chief counsel at the time, said that some clips which had his father’s AI-generated voice were good, but some were not. Jeffrey Earl Warren, the grandson of the chief justice at the time, Earl Warren, said that his grandfather’s real voice was lower than the generated version.

How did Goldman replicate the Brown v. Board of Education oral arguments?

Goldman worked on the project in collaboration with the Knight Lab at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and podcast company Spooler.

While actors were used to read the transcript of the argument, Goldman also found recordings of Marshall as well as the justices and John W. Davis, who was Marshall’s chief opponent. With the help of AI company Respeecher, the voices of the actors were made to sound like the people in the recordings Goldman found.

The Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed school segregation, was decided 70 years ago and had no audio recording of the arguments by Marshall as well as the voice of Warren reading the opinion from the bench.

Goldman’s Oyez Project served as an archive of materials that were related to the United States Supreme Court, its justices, and also its decisions.

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