Posted in Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on February 16, 2011

On a quick visit to the Supreme Court’s official website this morning, I noticed a new option under its Opinions menu: Video Resources.

At first I thought, “It couldn’t be!”  Well, it turns out that it, indeed, couldn’t be.  The Court wasn’t usurping C-Span over the years by surreptitiously recording video of its oral arguments to be released when no one was looking.  No, the two items available for download in this section are pieces of video evidence crucial to the Court’s decisionmaking in cases from 2007 and 2008.

The first video is a victim impact statement at issue in Kelly v. California, a case for which the Court denied certiorari, prompting Justice Stevens to issue a statement deeming the video to be inadmissibly prejudicial, if not irrelevant, to the capital case at hand.

The second video is of a car chase that the Court reviewed in Scott v. Harris ultimately to answer by an 8-1 vote in the affirmative the question of “whether a law enforcement official can, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, attempt to stop a fleeing motorist from continuing his public-endangering flight by ramming the motorist’s car from behind.”

By creating this new listing on its website, the Court hasn’t quietly unveiled never-before-seen footage: footnotes in both the Kelly statement and the Scott decision provide links to where the Court stored the videos on its former website.  Rather, the Court has simply made these videos more accessible than before.

Nevertheless, I’m still holding out hope that one day I’ll check the SCOTUS A/V Club to find that the Court has converted from Betamax the pilot oral argument recording of some obscure, late-Burger era case that contains such unflattering depictions of the justices as to expose once and for all the real reason why they remain so firmly committed against cameras in the courtroom.


The Onion’s Fun with the Future

Posted in Law and Politics, Non-justiciable by Mike Sacks on February 8, 2011

Today’s headline at The Onion:

Here’s a choice cut from the article:

Upon learning that gay marriage actually had to go to the Supreme Court, where it barely passed in a controversial 5-to-4 decision, students from the class of 2086 speculated that “maybe people were just dumber [in the early 2000s],” at which point student Eminem Robertson began to loudly impersonate a bumbling Supreme Court justice from the turn of the century, eliciting loud laughs of approval from classmates.

Mr. Bernard, 58, told the class that he himself could remember how in the 2030s gay marriage was still a somewhat touchy subject in certain parts of the country.

“It’s true,” said Mr. Bernard, gesturing to a holographic projection of late-20th/early-21st-century antigay preacher Fred Phelps on the classroom’s V-screen. “Most people had come around by the time I was your age, of course, but you would still read and hear things about how certain people in New Washington were trying to overturn the court’s ruling. Hard to imagine anyone being that adamant about gays not marrying, but those were different times.”

This reminds me of my own fun with the future back when I first launched F1@1F.  Dare I say that The Onion’s looks far more realistic?

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