The PreDigital Supreme Court

March 26th, 2012

I saw the Court described on Twitter today as a “cone of silence.” It really is one of the few places no Earth where it is impossible to get live updates of what is going on. I even noticed that Tom Goldstein and Kevin Russell at SCOTUSBlog ducked out of the Court before the case was finished to provide those fleeting updates. Lest we forget that my post outside the Court when McDonald was argued was one of the first reports of the case!

This article in the Times laments that cone of silence:

On three mornings this week, a select group of reporters, lawyers and observers will crowd into the court’s august chamber as the nine justices grill the advocates in a case freighted with huge legal and political implications. No Twitter messages will be allowed. No one in the room will be permitted to make a telephone call. There will be no BlackBerrys or laptops or iPads to blog with.

Pundits will chatter on cable TV. And a media-political circus is expected outside the court, where a line started forming at 9:30 a.m. on Friday — as if a new iPad were about to go on sale.

But for those two hours, the rest of the world will have little idea what is happening inside. . . .

The Associated Press plans to have two reporters in the court listening to the arguments. But one of them has instructions to leave about halfway through, file a short “urgent” story for the news service’s members, and then post on Twitter whatever is known.

Sally Buzbee, the Washington bureau chief for The A.P., said she had resisted the urge to tell her reporters to dash out after the first few minutes.

“There’s a real tension here between running out after the first quote and getting some substantive sense of what’s really going on in there,” Ms. Buzbee said. “Our interest here is getting information out as fast as possible. Who knows what’s going to happen? And there’s certainly huge interest in that.”