By Kevin O'Keefe

Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog [LexBlog Q & A, part 2 of 2]

Today we continue what we started yesterday: our LexBlog Q & A with Tom Goldstein, the attorney from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who runs the successful law blog SCOTUSblog.

In part 1, Tom discussed how they developed their wiki companion to SCOTUSblog and why he doesn’t think wikis will become the norm in the legal blogosphere. Today the focus shifts more to the day-to-day operation of SCOTUSblog itself.

3. Rob La Gatta: In our recent interview with Bob Ambrogi, he said that he believes other law bloggers will look to SCOTUSblog as a model in coming years. Do you believe this to be the case? Have you noticed it happening already?

Tom Goldstein: Well, that’s a terrific compliment from Bob. We’ve definitely noticed several other people trying to do what we do with a different focus: they blog about just one circuit court, say, or the courts of a particular state.

But generally, I don’t think most people blog to accomplish the same goals as we do. Most people in the legal blogosphere (blawgosphere?) offer up their opinions on the law, which can be endlessly fascinating and produce some great discussions. That’s not really the game we are in, though, so I don’t know how much they are using us as a model for their sites.

4. Rob La Gatta: Since so many people see your blog on a daily basis (I’ve even heard a rumor that one of your posts caught an overlooked error in a published SCOTUS opinion), what types of editorial controls do you have in place to ensure accuracy? Do you believe you and your writers hold yourselves to the same standards as a traditional publication?

Tom Goldstein: We certainly try to hold ourselves to some high standards. Our reputation for accuracy and fairness really begins with Lyle Denniston, who has been covering the Court for 50 years. We’re lucky to have a blogger that refuses to dip below the very high standards he set for himself at The Wall Street Journal and Baltimore Sun, among others.

Editorially, we have weekly meetings among all of our contributors to ensure that we are being as comprehensive and as objective as we can be. When we discuss the merits of cases on the blog, we go out of our way to bring in voices from all sides of the discussion. We’ve posted exchanges with legal scholars from the right, left, and center. We know that we cover an institution that is often used by both sides as a rallying cry for their bases, so we need to try that much harder to stay above the fray.

I think we’ve done that so far: for example, for the upcoming case about the Second Amendment and handgun rights, which has become really highly-charged on both sides, we’ve become a go-to resource for people with all different perspectives. I have to say that one of the things I’m most proud of in the years since we started SCOTUSblog is that we’re respected by people with a huge variety of legal and political views.

5. Rob La Gatta: SCOTUSblog has been around for nearly 4 years. Is there anything you know now about the art of blogging that you wish you knew when you first got started?

Tom Goldstein: That’s an interesting question. I will say that if I had known how hard it was to generate fresh content and stay current 365 days a year, I may never have started it in the first place!

I’m kidding, of course. But I’ve learned that publishing a useful blog has proved to be a round-the-clock, day-in, day-out endeavor, and I’m not sure anyone quite grasps that going in. Still, despite the extra work, it’s been extremely rewarding in so many ways. I wouldn’t change anything about what we’ve done, really.

Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:

Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.

Subscribe to Real Lawyers Have Blogs via Email or RSS
Please enter a valid email address and click the button.
Recent Posts
More content can be found in the Search section.