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U.S. Supreme Court

Justices Don’t Communicate by Email, Kagan Says

Posted Oct 17, 2011 8:55 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Poll: What Communication Modes Do You Avoid with Co-Workers? (You Can Vote More Than Once)

This poll ended on Mon, November 21, 2011 - 3:36:58.


  • Memos. They take a lot of time and trees -- and then you have to file them away.
    1150 votes (53.94%)
  • Phone. It forces me or who I call to take notes, and voice mail is a pain.
    522 votes (24.48%)
  • Email. It's too easily shared, and higher-ups can access it.
    256 votes (12.01%)
  • In person. I don't like to interrupt my co-workers or be interrupted.
    204 votes (9.57%)
Total Votes: 2132

Supreme Court clerks use email to talk to each other, but the justices prefer to communicate with their colleagues by hand-delivered memos, according to Justice Elena Kagan.

Speaking at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in Tampa, Kagan said the justices “ignore 25 years of technology” in communicating with each other, the Associated Press reports.

Taking questions from two judges, Kagan said none of the three women justices on the court are “shrinking violets.” She said she doubts gender has much of a difference on the outcome of deliberations, according to the story. “But it makes a world of difference, I think, in public perceptions of the court,” Kagan said.

Meanwhile, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told about 300 female judges in Newark, N.J., on Saturday that they should dare to disagree, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. "On rare occasions, a dissent turns the court and becomes the opinion of the court," she said. Ginsburg was the keynote speaker at the National Association of Women Judges.


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