Covering the United States Supreme Court in the Digital Age by Richard Davis

By Richard Davis

The U.S. splendid courtroom seeks to withhold information regarding its deliberations, whereas the press's activity is to record and disseminate this data. those targets clash and create stress among the justices and the newshounds who conceal them; upload to that the expanding calls for for transparency within the electronic age and the result's a fascinating dynamic among an establishment that seeks to maintain its opaqueness and a press corps that calls for higher transparency. This quantity examines the connection among justices and the click via chapters that debate elements corresponding to insurance of the establishment, the media's method of the docket, and the results of stories assurance on public opinion. also, newshounds who hide the courtroom provide insights into the occupation of reporting this day, whereas biographers of splendid courtroom justices proportion the views of these justices in regards to the press.

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Will the justices accept television coverage as the next step in press accommodation? The justices have been successful in resisting such pressure in the past because it has not been particularly intense. The public is not concerned about the issue, and the press is weak as a persuasive force. Congress could compel the justices to allow cameras, but it is not a fight worth waging beyond rhetoric. The answer, then, lies in whether the justices perceive that they can make this accommodation work while preserving themselves and their institution.

The Supreme Court might also make for a less attractive story to journalists because the Court beat is atypical in comparison to many other beats journalists cover. The Supreme Court does not have inside sources like those that we would see with Congress, the White House, state and local governments, or bureaucratic agencies. There is very little breaking of stories when it comes to the Court (Slotnick and Segal 1998). Reporters assigned to the Court feel like they are on the “fringes” of Court activity (Davis and Strickler 2000, 87).

Reporting on cases might also incorporate academic and legal experts with knowledge about the issue, the case history, legal precedent, or the Court itself. Interest groups step into the void created by the Court’s unwillingness to publicly interpret its decisions after they are issued (Slotnick and Segal 1998). These organizations become “surrogate press secretaries” (Jamieson 1998, 10) of sorts, attempting to affect information dissemination on a decision as well as public opinion about a decision in the hours and days following the Court’s verdict.

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