Mr. Speaker, the backbone of the court system, courtroom reporters make sure that the system works efficiently. Tasked with keeping complete, accurate and secure records, courtroom reporters handle verbatim documentation of criminal, civil or other court proceedings.
These individuals are highly skilled and trained in court reporting, which usually involves stenography. Reporting for the courts involves taking records of court proceedings, depositions, and administrative hearings, among other things.
They record everything that is being said in the courtroom by judges, witnesses, attorneys or other parties, as well as gestures and emotional reactions that accompany any statements. While taking shorthand notes, they must accurately capture the spoken word.
This does not mean paraphrasing or capturing every other word. Reporters must capture each word verbatim, with correct spelling and punctuation, despite the speed in which individuals are talking. After the hearing is over, they then must transcribe their notes into a readable, workable format for the public record.
Sometimes, a court reporters work benefits those with special needs, such as the deaf or hard of hearing. Court reporters can even provide closed captioning or a real-time translation of spoken words.
During my 22 years as a judge in Texas, I had many court reporters who capably kept records of every word said in the courtroom. Being a court reporter is no easy feat, stressors come from every direction including security issues and daily deadlines.
In the House of Representatives, we have clerks who help us and our staff every day. These individuals serve as the congressional stenographers, working diligently, day in and day out. These individuals take notes on congressional hearings and floor debate, speeches and statements. They then work extremely fast to enter all the statements into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD.
Every single entry must be completely correct. Each statement made goes on the record in congressional history. These individuals work becomes ensures that history is written correctly. Without their diligence we would not be able to do our jobs as efficiently.
These highly trained and talented men and women work tenaciously to record correctly the proceedings of courts and Court Reporters and Floor Clerks are truly a vital asset to Judges and Members of Congress. We thank them for getting the words right.
And that’s just the way it is.