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Judges publishing and reading blogs

August 23, 2007

Craig Williams and Blawg Review turned me onto an excellent article (pdf) in the National about judges and blogs. Published in the National Judicial Conference’s Case in Point Magazine, Heather Singer reports on the judiciary’s increasing interest in both reading and publishing blogs.

With the do’s and don’ts enjoying much scrutiny, most [Judges] appear to agree that as long as blogging judges adhere to the cannons of ethics ad avoid ethical pitfalls, there are many upsides to this new medium.

From Judge Adam Fischer, Jr., of Greenville, S.C., a former member and chair of NJC’s Faculty Council who teaches ethics courses:

Judicial blogs can be an excellent method for judges to come together and share information. Blogs on timely judicial issues are highly valuable to judges.

Texas Judge Susan Criss, who runs the successful blog As the Island Floats, gave a similar response:

Blogs are a way to share a lot of valuable information. I enjoy reading them. You can learn a lot about different areas of the law. Sometimes lawyers will analyze cases in their blogs, and you can learn from those as well.

Many of the sources quoted in the article agree, pointing out that as long as judges are cautious about what they write, they can be a valuable asset to the blogosphere. Says Mortiz College of Law professor Doug Berman, author of the blog Sentencing Law and Policy:

We tend to inappropriately deify judges more than we should. Judges are different from the rest of us but often an artificial distance is created. Jurists are not the only ones who should write cautiously. Prosecutors, defense attorneys and anyone in the legal and judicial fields should do so as well.

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