Who Publishes SCOTUSblog?
SCOTUSblog is the most-read high court news source on the internet. On a typical day, it receives up to 100,000 hits.
The Senate daily gallery has rejected the application of blog editor Amy Howe and reporter Lyle Denniston to get press credentials. The gallery has concluded that SCOTUSblog is not independent enough from Goldstein & Russell, the law firm representing clients in Supreme Court cases.
Tom Goldstein has made his mark in both law and journalism. He is the founding partner of a Supreme Court litigation boutique and the publisher of SCOTUSblog, the highly trafficked high court chronicle. He has also taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard and Stanford. He recently spoke to students at the American Constitution Society’s annual Law School Dinner.
When the Supreme Court decides whether or not to hear a case, SCOTUSblog can get a million hits in a day. While his path to fame has taken a few twists and turns, he’s called to where he is today through hard work and some fortunate connections.
Founded in 2002 by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog is a legal website that covers the United States Supreme Court. It reports on each case before it is argued, at the end of each term, and after a decision is released. Goldstein’s law firm funds the site, and Howe and several part-time and contract writers work on it.
Goldstein and Howe have been working on SCOTUSblog since its launch in 2002. The blog was initially a marketing tool for Goldstein’s Supreme Court litigation practice. Over time, it became a news source essential to many readers’ understanding of the court.
One of the reasons that SCOTUSblog has been so successful is because of its independence from traditional media sources. The site is not funded by entities that lobby Congress or federal agencies, and it does not publish pieces influenced by political parties or interest groups.
Despite its independence, SCOTUSblog has faced criticism over its relationship with the law firm that employs its staffers in recent years. The site’s founder, Tom Goldstein, and some journalists have represented clients in cases before the Supreme Court. In addition, Goldstein has argued 30 cases himself. In the past, this has sometimes raised questions about the site’s credibility and its ability to cover the court impartially. The gallery’s Standing Committee on Correspondents has twice rejected applications for credentials by SCOTUSblog, and it has not renewed the certificate of reporter Lyle Denniston. The site has plans to appeal the decisions and ask the committee to reconsider them at its May meeting.
The website SCOTUSblog is the go-to resource for anyone interested in the Supreme Court. The site explains every case and its implications in easy-to-understand language. It also publishes all the documents about each case, including arguments and final rulings. It has become an indispensable tool for attorneys, journalists, and the public. It has even been credited with filling a gap created by traditional media outlets with staff cutbacks.
Founded by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog is an invaluable resource for those who want to stay current on the latest Supreme Court decisions. The couple initially started the blog as a marketing tool for their law firm, but it has since grown into an authoritative media entity. The site has several full-time employees, covering the country’s highest courts with unparalleled detail. The website’s founders have always promoted fair and impartial reporting.
The Senate’s Standing Committee of Correspondents recently voted to deny SCOTUSblog’s editor and reporter Amy Howe access to the Senate press gallery for the rest of the year. The committee argued that the site is not editorially independent of Goldstein and Russell, representing clients in about 10 percent of cases before the Supreme Court. The blog retorted that the committee has not been clear about its guidelines and is overstepping its bounds by requiring the site to disclose all sources of income and that it is funded exclusively by its readers rather than by advertisers.
Despite the controversy, SCOTUSblog plans to continue to cover the Supreme Court without the help of the press gallery. Its staff includes several lawyers and law students, and a subscription base funds it. It has also received funding from private individuals and foundations.
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Amy Howe about her work at SCOTUSblog. We discussed the site’s origins, how it has evolved over the years, and the challenges it has faced. You can watch the interview here.
SCOTUSblog has been the go-to resource for Supreme Court news and interpretation for twelve years. Founded by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe in 2002, the website is entirely independent and publishes cases from the certiorari stage through the merits stage. The site aims to provide comprehensive coverage in a way that is both accessible and clear. It also includes live blogs of oral arguments and an extensive archive of all the Court’s actions in a case, including briefing documents. SCOTUSblog also hosts conferences on the Court’s decisions.
The site’s popularity increased in recent years after a string of landmark rulings that drove readers to the site. The blog’s propensity to beat the competition and break news on the Court has helped make it one of the most popular legal blogs in the country.
Although SCOTUSblog is an independent media outlet, it has faced difficulties securing credentials from the Court and the Senate to cover its coverage. The Supreme Court’s Public Information Office only grants hard passes to journalists and news outlets with credentials from either the White House or the Senate. Until recently, SCOTUSblog has obtained keys for its reporters by using the credentials of other news outlets, such as WBUR in Boston, where Denniston works.
Earlier this year, the committee that oversees the gallery’s credentialing process informed SCOTUSblog it would not renew Denniston’s pass and said it would reconsider the application of a reporter for the site who does not work for a news organization. The committee cited a statement last year from Goldstein to the American Bar Association in which he argued that SCOTUSblog indirectly brought business to his law firm, Goldstein & Russell, through its Supreme Court coverage.
Goldstein told GoverningWorks that he plans to sell the website next year and that obtaining formal recognition from the galleries will help him make the site more attractive to buyers. Until then, the founders of SCOTUSblog will continue to find ways to get their reporters in the doors of the Supreme Court and keep the public informed about its latest rulings.
When the Supreme Court hands down a crucial decision, as expected Thursday on the health care law, many fingers will anxiously click at one virtual place: SCOTUSblog. The website is dedicated to just one thing: comprehensive coverage of the Supreme Court. It has a cult-like following among lawyers, reporters, and TV anchors who track it for its live blog about court announcements and its early publication of the essence of decisions.
The site is popular with the public and has won several journalism awards, including a Peabody. It fills a gap in Supreme Court coverage created by news organizations’ staff cutbacks. And it does so without partisanship or bias.
The unbiased news site has attracted so much attention that it has received threats and criticism from those offended by its reporting and analysis of cases before the Court. Despite that, the founders are committed to the website remaining independent.
They are still working to ensure it is as accessible to ordinary Americans as possible, and they want the site to be free of political agendas. They are also committed to maintaining high journalistic and ethical standards.
The site does not take money from the news media or lobby groups; volunteers staff it. SCOTUSblog does note that it has represented a client in a petition for certiorari, but it does not suggest the case is worthy of review or that the firm will win. SCOTUSblog’s reporting on matters is free of bias, and its staff maintains rigorous journalistic and legal ethics. The site is an essential source of information about the Supreme Court, and it is well worth a visit.