Media & Communications Law

Supreme Court Marshal's Office Shuts Down Lawyer's Live Tweets on Obama Health Care Arguments


A lawyer who listened to Tuesday’s arguments over President Obama’s health care initiative in an overflow room of the the U.S. Supreme Court was posting live tweets, through an intermediary, until the marshal’s office at the nation’s top court got word of the reports and shut them down.

Senior counsel Casey Mattox of the Alliance Defense Fund left the room periodically to send emails from a hallway to a staff member of the conservative legal group, who posted them on Twitter, a spokeswoman for the group said. But when asked by the marshal’s office to stop, he did.

The tweets, along with reports by journalists who left the arguments early, were the only news about what was being said as the arguments proceeded, Reuters reports. Before Tuesday ended, @AllianceDefense had 4,800 followers.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court said electronic devices are prohibited in the overflow room and are supposed to be checked elsewhere. The court prohibits them, along with cameras, to preserve traditional decorum.

“I live-blogged from there once and the court banned it,” said attorney and SCOTUSblog founder Thomas Goldstein. “Now I leave the building.”

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