Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Supreme Streaming Vids

Speaking of Internet video, the US Supreme Court has entered the YouTube generation by including digital access to videotaped evidence in an opinion. In Scott v. Harris, No. 05-1631, the Court rejected the plaintiff's claim that a police officer had violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure by ramming his car into a ditch during a chase. In response to a dissent, the Court stated:

JUSTICE STEVENS suggests that our reaction to the [police chase] videotape is somehow idiosyncratic, and seems to believe we are misrepresenting its contents. . . . We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself. See Record 36, Exh. A, available at
And, sure enough, the armchair jurists among us can follow that link, watch the police chase go down, and make up our own minds about its reasonableness.

Scholars are buzzing about this use of the Court's website and its larger implications for judicial transparency, inclusive democracy, etc., and that's all fine and good. But I'm just psyched because, sooner or later, the Court has got to take another obscenity case.

1 comment:

  1. LOL - You know they'll probably clip out the naughtiest bits, though.
    On a tangent, did I ever tell you about my former debate teacher, who had an obscenity free speech case of his go to the supreme court? Bethel School Dist. No. 403 v Fraser, 1986. He gave a naughty speech on behalf of a friend of his running for Student Council and got his ass suspended, then sued for the cost of 2 days' education.


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