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On the great Lyle Denniston’s departure from SCOTUSblog

As Lyle previewed in his lovely piece this weekend, the end of this Term is a turning point for SCOTUSblog.  We say a fond goodbye to our longtime reporter Lyle Denniston, and we welcome our current editor Amy Howe into that role.  Our access to the Court’s proceedings will be unaffected.  We plan to announce the hire of a new editor in the next few weeks.

The fact that this transition has been shaped for more than a year does not make it easier.  As I often say, Lyle is the beating heart of the blog.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role.

Lyle joined us more than a decade ago.  His arrival marked – and probably caused – the blog’s evolution into a serious news organization.  Lyle obviously brought with him a great deal of knowledge about the Court, but – just as important – every fiber of his being pulsed as a newsman.  His objectivity, the clarity of his writing, and his work ethic set the standard for the entire staff.

I confess that in the early days I questioned how a reporter from an earlier generation with such great experience would adapt to the technology and format of blogging.  The answer was stark.  Lyle has not been wedded to the ways of an earlier era; exactly the opposite.  He has thrived in the ability to communicate directly and immediately with his readers.

The evidence is everywhere.  Lyle wrote the great majority of the blog’s most important posts over the past ten years.  He was the hub of all of our real-time reporting on orders and opinions.  It is difficult to imagine a multi-person news operation that is more directly associated with one person.

As Lyle has explained, he will now move on to other challenges.  As his publisher, I have only one piece of advice for those who have the privilege of working with him in the future:  just stay out of his way.  I did my very best work when I did nothing at all and simply let Lyle use his skill, knowledge, and hard work communicate with the readers.  All of us hope that he will continue to do so for another fifty years.

Recommended Citation: Tom Goldstein, On the great Lyle Denniston’s departure from SCOTUSblog, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 28, 2016, 5:24 PM),