Tony Mauro, a Supreme Court correspondent for Legal Times and American Lawyer Media, offered some insight on reading the press covering the court. He tipped his hat at today's event to blogger Howard Bashman, whose blog How Appealing is dedicated to -- you guessed it -- appellate litigation.
"He's a journalist in every sense of the word. He's the one we turn to first to find out breaking news."
Mauro also pointed out that in the fuss over the Cheney ruling in June, the press largely missed the importance of the Blakely v. Washington case, which brought into question years of federal sentencing and turned out to be the important ruling of the day. Mauro said he wrote later that Blakely simply wasn't on anyone's radar screen before the ruling. He confessed today:
"All that means is that it wasn't on the reporter's radar screen and that the reporter's playing catch-up."
Another pressism to watch out for: when a conservative justice begins to rule more liberally, he's referred to by the press as "evolving," but when a liberal justice rules more conservatively, he's "getting cranky and old," Mauro said.