The Supreme Court Goes Digital

The Supreme Court has long tak­en heat for being in the tech­no­log­i­cal arrière-garde, a crit­i­cism that has seemed fair giv­en its unwill­ing­ness to even allow cam­eras into its oral argu­ments.

Slow­ly, how­ev­er, that per­cep­tion may be about to change. Accord­ing to the ABA Jour­nal eRe­port, the Court has stuck a small toe into the tech­nol­o­gy waters by pro­vid­ing web access to video­taped evi­dence that fig­ured into a recent case, Scott v. Har­ris. The url for the video gets ref­er­enced with­in the writ­ten opin­ion for the case, and a link is pro­vid­ed from the Court’s opin­ions web page. (You’ll need Real Play­er to watch it.)

The video itself is noth­ing spe­cial. It fea­tures very low qual­i­ty footage of a car chase tak­en from the dash­board of a police car, and it’s essen­tial­ly the same sce­nario that Amer­i­ca has seen played out for almost 20 years on Fox’s COPS. As you watch the video, you can’t help but feel that this land­mark moment for the court is a non-moment. But that’s per­haps to be expect­ed when a tra­di­tion-bound insti­tu­tion banal­ly enters a brave new world.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.