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.