Garrett Epps criticizes CJ Roberts who googled around and was not constrained by the record in the Arizona campaign finance case:
When the case came before the Court, Roberts asked the state of Arizona’s lawyer, “I checked the Citizens’ Clean Elections Commission website this morning, and it says that this act was passed to, quote, ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to running for office. Why isn’t that clear evidence that it’s unconstitutional?”
Appellate judges are not supposed to go Googling around on argument day in search of new evidence to spring on counsel during oral argument. They are supposed to decide cases only on the record before the Court. Early in 2012, when a government lawyer defending environmental regulations seemed to be straying from the printed record of evidence, Roberts dressed him down. “If they weren’t in the record, I don’t want to hear about them. You appreciate that rule, that we don’t consider things that aren’t in the record,” he scolded. That rule apparently doesn’t apply to the chief justice.