The media provides essential information about the Supreme Court to the general public, translating complex decisions into language that the lay person can understand.  Informed and responsible press coverage also benefits the Court.  However, there are things that the Court could do to make it easier for the press to do their job.  The Brigham Young University Law Review recently hosted a symposium, entitled “The Press, the Public, and the U.S. Supreme Court,” and invited law professors, political scientists, and journalists to discuss the interaction between the media and the Justices.  The symposium included panels on the costs and benefits of cameras in the Court and the Court’s treatment of social media.  In a keynote address, available here, Erwin Chemerinsky proposed some “modest” reforms that could improve the Court’s communication with the press and public, such as spreading out the release of major decisions over a week or longer, rather than releasing them on one or two days at the end of the Term.  He also suggested that the Court shorten its opinions, speak more clearly, and acknowledge the value choices that underlie the doctrine.  Another highlight was a panel featuring Supreme Court journalists, including SCOTUSblog’s own Lyle Denniston, Adam Liptak (The New York Times), Dahlia Lithwick (Slate), and Tony Mauro (National Law Journal), who described the challenges of reporting on the Court’s activities – particularly in late June!

Posted in Academic Round-up

Recommended Citation: Amanda Frost, Academic highlight: The media and the Court, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 19, 2012, 2:20 PM),