Search This Blog

Monday, June 30, 2014

"We Need to Go Deeper": Diving Into an Alternate Universe of Supreme Court Criticism

Today, the Supreme Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Tom Goldstein (quoted at Legal Theory Blog) concisely summarizes the holding: "Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage."

A great deal of commentary on the case (much of it critical) has already been written. Since I have only a passing knowledge of the case and the law it involves, I will not attempt to explore the merits of the case (although Eugene Volokh has an approachable summary of the ruling here).

Instead, I would like to explore an alternate universe of criticism that the case has inspired. As the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports here, many people who were upset by the Court's ruling took to Twitter to criticize the Supreme Court. But since the Supreme Court does not have an official Twitter account, critics instead began targeting SCOTUSBlog, a privately-run legal blog that provides exemplary coverage of Supreme Court cases.

Rather than inform critics that it is unaffiliated with the Supreme Court, SCOTUSBlog instead took to responding to critics' tweets as though it were the Supreme Court. Josh Blackman has a collection of some of the earlier responses here. Here are some of the more recent tweets:

So far we have a real blog pretending to be the Supreme Court responding to overly-hasty critics who believe the blog is the Court.

Now things get weirder:

Enter Salondotcom, a Twitter account that tweets parody headlines. It sarcastically jumped on the anti-SCOTUSBlog bandwagon:

This tweet prompted a new wave of criticism:

To summarize: A parody of Salon mocked a horde of misguided critics who were criticizing SCOTUSBlog under the impression that they were criticizing the Supreme Court. The Salon parody ended up being attacked by two groups of critics:
  1. The first group of critics, represented by @ataccounting above, realize SCOTUSBlog is not the Supreme Court, but think that Salondoctcom is the actual Salon website.
  2. The second, and most disturbing, group of critics seems to believe that SCOTUSBlog is the Supreme Court, that SCOTUSBlog decided Hobby Lobby correctly, and that Salondotcom is a real website that is seriously criticizing the decision. @Scootster21 and @notfooledbymdia are examples of this type of critic.
It's one thing to mix up SCOTUSBlog and the Supreme Court. But the second category of Salondotcom critics are operating in a strange and dangerous limbo realm where anything is possible. 

No comments:

Post a Comment