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Friday, April 6, 2012

Judiciary and Social Media

An earlier post described how the social media cover the Supreme Court.  But do the justices themselves made use of Twitter and Facebook? The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave no indication of the future of the landmark health care law on Thursday during an event at which she said judges cannot interact with the public in the same way politicians do.
Her comments at the University of Pennsylvania came in response to a question about whether the nine justices should do more to educate the public about the court, given popular direct communication tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
"We can't do that as judges," Sotomayor said. "We can't engage the public in a seminar about health law."
Sotomayor, who became the 111th justice on the court when she was sworn in on Aug. 8, 2009, said judges can't debate and exchange ideas with the public in the same way politicians engage with their constituents. People would find it "very unsatisfying" to try to interact with justices on social media, she said.
However, Sotomayor noted that she and her Supreme Court colleagues can and do interact with the public in other ways , by teaching constitutional law, presiding over moot courts and giving public lectures.
"We're all participating publicly, just maybe not in the way the public would like us to," she said.
During testimony last year before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Justices Breyer and Kennedy also talked about social media. Justice Breyer said: "Judges wear black robes so that they will resist the temptation to publicize themselves."