When Justices Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia go duck hunting in the Mississippi Delta later this month, we think they’re correct in not advising the press and public about the exact timing or location of their private gathering.
But maybe Kagan, who has been fairly open about publicizing her lectures and events, wishes she hadn’t invited the public to her most recent event at Princeton.
On November 20, at an event billed as “A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ’81 and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber,” Kagan let it slip that the justices still do not use email to communicate with one another when discussing drafts of opinions.
We’re in favor of public disclosures, but that’s just embarrassing (and tedious, since that means no track changes).
While the White House and many congressional offices each day release the public schedules of the President and members of Congress, respectively, the Supreme Court refrains from giving advanced notice of when a justice is appearing in public for a lecture, seminar or other event. And sometimes, when a justice appears in public, he or she goes to great lengths to ensure a speech or panel discussion is not recorded or broadcast. Further, it’s not always clear from a justice’s annual financial disclosure report who paid for their travel to and lodging for said event.
Fix the Court is calling on the court to advise the press of the justices’ public appearances (i.e., not vacation or other personal dealings) outside of the court, allow media coverage of most of those appearances like other top government officials and be more forthcoming about their travel benefactors in their disclosure reports.