Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe are the married couple who have run SCOTUSblog.com for 15 years. For those who don’t know, SCOTUS stands for Supreme Court of the United States, and interestingly enough the blog has more visitors than the government website for the Supreme Court.
What most people will notice about this informational site is the lack of advertisements. In a 2013 interview, Goldstein said “the original model of the blog was just a marketing tool, and so we would hype our own work.” However, noticing this method wasn’t working, Goldstein remade the website’s image as a “public-interest tool.” He said Howe spends most of her time on the blog, and the website contributes to a lot of the work he gets for his Supreme Court practice. Ostensibly, Goldstein and Howe make little if anything from SCOTUSblog directly.
SCOTUSblog does a tremendous job as a public-interest tool for anyone curious about the workings of the Supreme Court, especially when it comes to the “Statistics” and “Plain English” sections. Both offers something special to visitors who are not familiar with the Supreme Court I feel most coverage doesn’t. Often times, reporters well-versed in legalese will either gloss over terms and certain implications of cases, or omit them completely. However, SCOTUSblog takes these challenges head on and provides a glossary of legal terms, biographies of the justices and Supreme Court procedure, not to mention analyzing cases in basic English and interpreting their meaning. Further, if you wished to do reporting or project on specific justices, the “Statistics” tab breaks down current-term majority opinions, rates of cert grants and where grants are coming from (whether state supreme courts of appellate courts).
All in all, if someone is researching, writing about or simply wanting to understand the Supreme Court, SCOTUSblog is a fantastic tool that takes the daunting nature out of the Nation’s highest court.