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Policies on editorial independence

In response to my last post on policies that keep the blog separate from my firm, we received a few emails helpfully seeking clarification.  Below is a revision to what I previously published.  There is no substantive change, but hopefully the policies are clearer.

  • The blog is financially independent from the firm of Goldstein & Russell, P.C. (the Firm).  All of the blog’s salaries and expenses are paid from outside sources other than the Firm (currently Bloomberg Law’s sponsorship of the blog).   Conversely, the blog does not pay any compensation to any attorney or staff member of the Firm.
  • The blog provides comprehensive coverage of all cases heard on the merits at the Supreme Court and all significant petitions for certiorari.  However, to ensure that there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or factors that could diminish the blog’s editorial independence, the following rules apply:
    • No person shall have any role in reporting on any case in which he or his firm plays any role, including attorneys of the Firm.
    • The blog staff will note Firm merits cases only when required  to provide comprehensive coverage – for example, describing an order granting certiorari and furnishing basic details about the case – but will not otherwise comment, report, or pass judgment on the cases.
    •  The blog will not suggest that a petition for certiorari filed by the Firm is deserving of review on the merits by the Court or (alternatively) suggest that a case in which the firm has filed a brief opposing review is not worthy thereof.  The blog will note petitions in which the Firm is among the counsel to the petitioner or respondent in its “Petitions to Watch” and “Petition of the Day” features (so as not to inadvertently disadvantage either party to the litigation), but it will clearly state that such a listing occurs without regard to the likelihood that certiorari will be granted.  The only exception is the extremely rare petition in which the Firm is among the counsel the respondent but does not appear on the briefs in the case.  In that rare instance, because the Firm is opposing review, no advantage can be created when the petition is listed.
    • Because the blog covers every merits case, it will report on merits cases in which the Firm serves as an attorney to a party.  But all reporting on those cases shall be done by a person who has complete independence from the publisher and the Firm – i.e., a person other than the blog staff, including Lyle Denniston and Amy Howe, and Firm staff.
  • The policy of not noting new Supreme Court filings by the lawyers who work on the blog and the clinics with which they are affiliated is long-established and remains in effect.

Recommended Citation: Tom Goldstein, Policies on editorial independence, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 12, 2014, 6:37 PM),