When the Supreme Court Stops Calling


When the Supreme Court Stops Calling

“The Supreme Court is on hold.”

It was really quite exciting to hear that, Supreme Court practitioner Josh Rosenkranz recently recalled.

He was referring to times when the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office would call to alert you that your case was about to be decided.

In a world where the high court is extremely tight-lipped about which opinions will be handed down, advance notice is a thrill.

But then, “the calls stopped coming,” Rosenkranz said.

What happened?

The “Supreme Court entered the age of online information,” a leading treatise, Supreme Court Practice, says.

That was April 17, 2000.

Now the court makes its opinions available on its website almost immediately after they are handed down from the bench, obliterating the need for an advanced-warning telephone call to attorneys.

Arguing attorneys are therefore relegated to watching the court’s website or *gasp* following social media to find out if their cases have been decided. Of course, they could also head down to the court each opinion day and hope to catch a justice reading their opinion from the bench.

It’s one of the few times technological advances actually made people worse off.

But don’t worry!

As the Chief Justice noted in his 2014 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary when discussing the court’s “belated embrace” of pneumatic tubes (seriously, pneumatic tubes): “courts will always be prudent whenever it comes to embracing the ‘next big thing.’ ”

So the Supreme Court’s technological advances are unlikely to further hinder court-watchers any time soon.

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