Justice Kagan First Justice to Use Link Shortener (goo.gl)

June 20th, 2016

Update: I wrote an additional post diving into the analytics of how many people clicked on the link here.

In Justice Kagan’s dissent in Utah v. Strieff, she used the goo.gl link shortener.

See Reply Brief 8; Associated Press, Pa. Database, NBC News (Apr. 8, 2007), online at http://goo.gl/3Yq3Nd (as last visited June 17, 2016).

A Link Shortener creates a short-form of an otherwise lengthy link. The actual NBC News article is found at http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18013262/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/pa-database-million-warrants-unserved/#.V2gtfOakX76.

By my quick search, she is the first Justice to use a link shortener (I checked goo.gl, bit.ly,

For those of you who don’t appreciate the elegance of a link shortener, consider Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, which lists the full, cumbersome links–including the unsightly %20 to represent a space:

Outstanding warrants are surprisingly common. When a person with a traffic ticket misses a fine payment or court appearance, a court will issue a warrant. See, e.g., Brennan Center for Justice, Criminal Justice Debt 23 (2010), online at https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Fees%20and%20Fines%20FINAL.pdf.

Here Justice Sotomayor, I fixed it for you: https://goo.gl/0GAmmi.

I’ve been using goo.gl as a link shortener in briefs for some time. It saves space, looks nicer, and has the added benefit of recording how many clicks the link receives. If people start clicking on links in my brief, it is a potential sign that the Justices, or at least their clerks are interested.

For my book, I am saving all of my links in perma.cc, which creates permanent archives of links. Even if the original page is deleted, the archive remains. (I have roughly 3,000 footnotes, so there are a lot of saved links).