Rounding Up Changes at SCOTUSBlog

October 16th, 2013

Towards the end of last term, I noticed a change in how SCOTUSBlog did the daily round-up. On 4/19, SCOTUSBlog announced that it would publish stories in the roundup that were submitted by readers. On 4/30, they changed to policy to *only* include those stories submitted. I noticed that in the subsequent days the round-up was quite short. By 5/15, they ditched that policy, and were again requesting submissions, but not limited to them. Of late, I haven’t seen any requests for submission of stories.

In the past few years, nearly all of the round-ups had been performed by law students who worked for SCOTUSBlog. I found that each student did the round-up one day a week. Over the last few months–at least since the conclusion of the October 2012 term–I’ve noticed that all round-ups were done by Amy Howe. Students are no longer listed on the masthead. I thought that may be a temporary measure over the summer, but it has continued through the start of the term. And on today’s round-up there was an interesting disclosure:

[Disclosure:  Kevin Russell of Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in Daimler AG.  However, I am not affiliated with the firm and was not involved in the case.]

When I read that, I thought, since when?

What is now known as Goldstein & Russell was, before Tom’s departure from Akin Gump, known as Howe & Russell, and then later Goldstein, Howe & Russell. That firm sponsored SCOTUSBlog in 2011, until Bloomberg’s sponsorship in 2012.

In this podcast last July (which I wrote about here), Goldstein said that Howe was spending “almost all of her time on SCOTUSBlog” but acknowledged she was still one of the three partners. No longer.

Stephanie Francis Ward: And the way your firm is staffed, is there’s the three partners and then you have two counsels, right?

Tom Goldstein: That’s true. But Amy, who’s my wife and a partner in the firm, is really spending almost all of her time on SCOTUSblog right now. And Kevin Russell, who is a partner, spends a lot of his time during the year teaching at the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinics. So in terms of litigating partners, it’s principally me.

It seems that Howe has been removed from the firm’s web site  lawyer page, but her contact information still appears. Howe is now credited at SCOTUSBlog as an “Editor/Reporter.” Relatedly, Kevin Russell’s name is no longer on the masthead (but his bio is still there). Nor is Tejinder Singh,  a counsel at the firm, who was a contributor last year. Neither has posted anything since the end of last term. Virtually all connections between the firm and the blog have been severed. The only member of Goldstein & Russell still on the masthead is, well, Goldstein.

Update (10/17/13): Either I’m delusional or something changed. Both Tejinder and Kevin are on the Masthead under contributor. I could’ve sworn yesterday I didn’t see either. In any event, I withdraw the last four sentences of the post.