American Bar Association

SCOTUSblog Among ABA Silver Gavel Award Winners


Updated: SCOTUSblog, the website known for its up-to-the-minute coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court, is among this year’s winners of ABA Gavel Awards.

The blog founded by Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein is listed in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100, the magazine’s list of the best legal blogs. SCOTUSblog covers Supreme Court opinions as they are released, with quick summaries and later, more detailed analysis. The blog also tracks pending cases and notable cert petitions and compiles Supreme Court statistics.

SCOTUSblog points out that its entry did not include any materials from its reporter Lyle Denniston, who did not want to be considered for the award because of his reporting on ABA briefs.

The Silver Gavel Awards recognize media work that fosters the public’s understanding of the law and the legal system. Silver gavels were awarded in five categories this year, while honorable mentions were given in two others.

Besides SCOTUSblog, the Silver Gavel winners are:

• Magazines—“Trial by Fire,” published in The New Yorker. The story asked whether Texas killed an innocent man when it executed Cameron Todd Willingham for an arson fire that killed his three children.

• Newspapers—“Presumed Guilty: The Story Behind the Headlines of the Greatest Miscarriage of Justice in Nebraska’s Modern Legal History,” by the Lincoln Journal Star. The eight-part series examined the prosecution of six people in a 1985 murder who were later exonerated by DNA evidence.

• Television—“Juvenile Rehabilitation,” broadcast by ABC News Primetime. The story followed the lives of youths at two Missouri juvenile detention centers that emphasize rehabilitation.

• Radio—“California’s Three Strikes Law: 15 Years of Controversy,” broadcast by National Public Radio.

Honorable mentions went to two books, Equal: Women Reshape American Law and Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice. Also receiving an honorable mention was a Skylight Pictures documentary, The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court</i.>

Updated at 4:10 p.m. to include information that Lyle Denniston was not part of the SCOTUSblog entry.

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