U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUSblog will be shopping for a buyer next year, its founder confirms

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The founder of SCOTUSblog told the Associated Press that he is planning to sell the blog next year.

How Appealing notes two versions of the AP story, one mentioning the planned sale and one without it. But SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein tells the ABA Journal there’s no mystery—just two different versions of the article.

Goldstein confirmed his intentions in an email. “I do plan to sell the blog next summer,” he wrote. “But in the meantime we’re very happily and gratefully sponsored by Bloomberg Law. We’re completely devoted to them. So that process will wait. I’d be surprised if the new owners didn’t want me to be involved, but that will of course be up to them. Nothing was deleted from the AP article; there are just two different versions of it.”

Goldstein started the blog in hopes of drumming up business for his law firm. His Supreme Court practice is flourishing, thanks to his decision early on to look for cases likely to merit cert and to offer his services, often at very low pay. The blog is also a big success, though it wasn’t a very good marketing ploy at its inception. Now, however, it is “an indispensable aid to Supreme Court reporters and lawyers,” according to AP.

But the U.S. Supreme Court is unsure how to deal with the popular blog, the story says. Goldstein wants SCOTUSblog to be subject to the same benefits and restrictions as other members of the media, including access to a press pass for veteran reporter Lyle Denniston, and possibly for Howe as well.

Denniston also reports for WBUR, and he uses credentials obtained for his work with the Boston radio station for his SCOTUSblog reports. Goldstein and Howe both write for the blog, but they had to use seats reserved for lawyers to watch oral arguments. The Supreme Court is reviewing its credentialing process and won’t act on pending applications until the process is complete.

Goldstein hopes that he can obtain press credentials to make SCOTUSblog more attractive to potential buyers, according to AP. His current expenses to run the blog, he says, are $500,000 a year.

Goldstein wants to clarify that the quest for a press pass has little to do with the sale, though it will help some. “We need the pass for our ongoing reporting by Amy, and because we want to be treated like other media organizations,” he tells the ABA Journal in a follow-up email.

Read also:

ABAJournal.com: “SCOTUSblog founder shares tips for business development and marketing (podcast with transcript)”

Updated at 1:50 p.m. to add last paragraph containing Goldstein’s follow-up comment on his reason for pursuing a press pass.

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