Justice Kennedy: Blogs have caused a “Quiet Revolution” and “Sea Change” to make the Supreme Court more accessible

April 15th, 2011

During his testimony before the Appropriations Committee, Justice Kennedy made some bold comments about how the blogosphere and the Internet have revolutionzed access to the Supreme Court, calling it a “quiet revolution” and “sea change.” He noted that a number of blogs post instant analyses of cases within hours after they come out (or on my site, usually within minutes).

Kennedy also noted that the Supreme Court web site gets 59 million hits a month. That is awfully impressive.

There is no official transcript available (let me know if you can find one) so I did my best to transcribe the comments, which begin at 50:19 of this video. (there may be some errors)

We have seen since Justice Breyer and I have been on our Court, a quiet revolution because of IT, information technology. We have a website we run it ourselves. We get 59 million hits a month. There is a study I have seen, I am somewhat skeptical of, we are 12th or 13th of any government agency, 179,000 page hits a day.

I used to read Supreme Court cases over the summer. I would wait for months or years for law review articles. Now there are blogs. There are law professors in specialized areas, information technology, antitrust, that have blogs, that within weeks, days, even hours, they comment on our cases

Our case law is now part of arguments that attorneys make to distirct and circuit judges within hours after we decide cases

This has been very efficient. There has been a sea change how accessible our cases are. The system works. It is a quiet revolution. It makes our courts very efficient and very effective

I noted that in Citizens United v. FEC, Justice Kennedy was the first Justice to use the word “blog” in a Supreme Court opinion. It seems that AMK may be one of the most tech savvy Justices around, Justice Scalia’s iPad notwithstanding.