Past running a blog: The brand new and improved SCOTUSblog

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Beyond blogging: The new and improved SCOTUSblog

By Katie Bart and Kalvis Golde


at 3:19 p.m.

Do you notice something?

Welcome to the new website of SCOTUSblog – our largest technological update in more than a decade. We have redesigned our homepage to present our most important work. We have updated our fonts and layout to improve readability. We have adapted our logo to show how much we have developed in our 18 year history. We added larger graphics and more intuitive graphics. Finally, we are now mobile friendly.

We hope you like it. We would also like to assure you that while things are a little different, you are still reading the same SCOTUSblog – and we will continue to treat the Supreme Court with clear script, concise analysis and independent, explanatory journalism.

When Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe started SCOTUSblog in 2002, they hoped to provide a glimpse into the opaque institution at the top of federal justice. They spent much of their days manually uploading certification applications and other Supreme Court briefs for the public to read. And they blogged plainly about cases that interested them and how the court operated. In the beginning, SCOTUSblog was a rudimentary website on blogger.com with 30 hits a day. But the public appetite for an authoritative Supreme Court news source was enormous – and no one else filled that niche. So SCOTUSblog grew and it grew quickly.

During the blog’s first decade, Tom and Amy put together a small staff and expanded their mission from the occasional blogging to rigorous coverage of every case discussed in court during each tenure. Soon SCOTUSblog offered unprecedented access to the latest developments at the farm. In 2012, it won a Peabody Award for its accurate, real-time reporting of the Affordable Care Act’s decision.

SCOTUSblog continued to deepen its coverage in its second decade and continued to focus solely on the Supreme Court. We have expanded our bank of talented employees. Every semester, we publish detailed case previews, argumentation analysis and opinion analysis for every case the court hears. In our symposia on the major court cases, we offer insights and commentary from key legal figures in the country across the ideological spectrum. We track notable certification applications, highlight new grants and books about the court, and publish a comprehensive statistical breakdown of each tenure.

We have also continued our mission to bring transparency into those aspects of the court that are most lacking. For example, last year we published a dedicated courtroom access project, examined the court’s “shadow minutes”, and expanded our coverage of the role of judges in final appeals in death penalty cases. And we’ve rejuvenated our use of social media to reach new audiences. In addition to our expanded presence on Twitter, you can now find us on Instagram and, from last week, even on TikTok.

Despite our many innovations over the years, SCOTUSblog has always kept a traditional blogging format: a text-heavy pile of posts that appear on the homepage in reverse chronological order and can barely highlight our most important stories. The redesigned site we’re launching today changes that. It reflects the reality of what SCOTUSblog has become: a comprehensive news website and the source for information and analysis on the Supreme Court.

Our vision for this new version of SCOTUSblog – a seven month long project in collaboration with the designers and developers at Sound Strategies – is to offer a more curated reading experience, rather than just a reverse chronological feed of posts. Readers can now find the most important Supreme Court news in our section on the fold. This section provides easy access to must-read reports and analysis, especially on Argumentation and Opinion Days, when older case studies can provide the context needed. And it gives us a lot more flexibility in visually representing the work we’re most proud of.

Do not be afraid, SCOTUSblog traditionalists. If you prefer the classic reverse chronological feed (or just want to make sure you are up to date on everything we post), you can still find it at scotusblog.com/blog. To read everything we’ve ever written in reverse order (a good use of your time during a pandemic, in our humble opinion) just go there and scroll to your heart’s content.

Today’s redesign offers many other advantages. Our bi-weekly podcast SCOTUStalk is now better known on the homepage. We have better graphics, bigger photos, and a modern font. And for the first time (we admit it’s a bit late) the website is fully customized for use on mobile and tablets.

SCOTUSblog has come a long way since its inception as an up and coming two-person project on blogger.com. And we’ve come a long way since our last web redesign in 2010. We are still SCOTUSblog – but we are no longer just a blog.

So take a look around and let us know what you think. If you have any questions about our new platform (or discover bugs), please contact us.