The U.S. Senate Press Gallery denied the Supreme Court website SCOTUSblog Senate press credentials yesterday, finding that the site does not exercise enough editorial independence from the publisher’s law firm, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which supported the site’s bid for credentials. The Gallery's Standing Committee of Correspondents, consisting of five journalists credentialed to cover the Senate. said SCOTUSblog failed to establish sufficient independence from Goldstein & Russell, a law firm that represents clients in about 10 percent of cases that come before the Court, blog publisher Tom Goldstein wrote.
The only way the news site could have such an arrangement with another organization is if the other entity is “principally a general news organization,” which Goldstein’s law practice is not. Because Goldstein advocates before the Court, which the Committee defines as a form of lobbying the federal government, he cannot provide independent editorial direction as publisher for the site. The committee also cited a comment last year from Goldstein to the American Bar Association saying that SCOTUSblog indirectly contributed to the number of Goldstein & Russell's cases in the Supreme Court, therefore serving as a client-generating vehicle for the firm and Goldstein's personal brand.