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New Term, New Look

With the end of one Supreme Court Term and the dawn of another, we thought it was time to give SCOTUSblog a bit of an update as well. This post will outline a few of our changes.

The most obvious change is the addition of separate pages for various types of posts, which can be selected through the new tabs at the top of the site. From now on, we’ll be filing each post in one of the above categories; all new posts will continue to appear on the home page as they always have, but by clicking on the tabs above, you’ll be able to filter for just posts in the specified category. The “Commentary and Analysis” tab will contain all of our oral argument previews and recaps, along with general thoughts about pending cases and the Court in general (the daily “Round-Ups” will also appear on this page); also in this category, we’ll place the thoughts of Marty Lederman and our frequent guest-bloggers about certain important decisions. The “New Filings” page is where you will find our posts that highlight significant new developments at the Court, from death penalty stays to cert. petitions to noteworthy merits briefs. Under the “Orders and Opinions” tab, we’ll file all of Lyle’s dispatches from the Courthouse whenever new decisions or grants are announced. Finally, “Multimedia” is self-explanatory – in that category, you’ll be able to easily find new and archived podcast episodes, as well as the other audio and video offerings we will be producing in the future.

To the right of the tabs, you will see a link in red called “Term Tracker.” This link will take you to all of our posts that feature electronic copies of briefs and other documents, as well as voting statistics, docket summaries, and our “Conference Call” lists of petitions to watch that we will post in advance of each Conference. If you would like to stay on top of every detail about the current Term, and find many of the documents that the Court itself is reading, you’ll want to check out “Term Tracker.”

You will also notice a new icon at the top of the right-hand column, below “Term Tracker” and above the list of recent posts. That in-site “banner ad” will allow us to spotlight significant new posts, podcast episodes, feature articles, or even commentary at other blogs worth highlighting; using this feature, we’ll have a quick way to flag for you the most significant posts at SCOTUSblog or elsewhere about the Supreme Court.The last major aesthetic change is the one that has certainly been requested the most in my time here: a better search page. Yes, the page that delivers search results should now be as clean and easy-to-read as the rest of the site, so that if you can’t find what you are looking for by sorting through the tabs, that’ll be the place to go.

Finally, with all of those aesthetic changes and functionality enhancements, we thought we would use this opportunity to change our commenting policy. Starting today, we won’t be approving comments by users not using their real names. We know that a few of our most frequent commenters currently go by aliases, and we look forward to everyone’s continued participation – just under a name, not a handle. We hope it’s not too much trouble to make the switch. UPDATE 10/3: This policy is now in effect – full names only, please.

We hope you find the new features useful. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to e-mail jharrow [at] Other than that, happy October Term 2006.