Judicial Googling

Does independent research lead to better decisions?

Justice Clarence Thomas cited 59 sources to support his view that the Founding Fathers believed that parents had absolute control over their children’s development; 57 of them were not in the briefs submitted in the case.

There are no rules about in-house research, and Larsen is troubled by the risks: “the possibility of mistake, unfairness to the parties, and judicial enshrinement of biased data which can now be quickly posted to the world by anyone without cost.”

She does not claim that it has changed the outcome of a case, but she notes that inaccurate information has found its way into opinions, in part, she argues, because no lawyer for the other side knew about it or had a chance to challenge it.

Read Should Supreme Court justices Google? at the Washington Post. [via ABA Journal]


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