All their oops belong to us...

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(Thanks to Lucas) The Supreme Court of These United States (SCOTHUS) makes a habit of amending its opinions, sometimes years after the fact. It's been done since the court's beginning. In past years, it was difficult to track or announce those changes, but now it would be easy for SCOTHUS to provide an online record of changes. Still, the justices are resistant to doing so.

Here's an idea: they work for us. Which is to say we pay them and we should make them do it. Their decisions are in the public domain because those decisions were written on our dollar, and thus belong to us. So let's require these employees to maintain a public record of their changes...

We don't fault them for making errors—all of us do it all the time. Remember the Apostle James's declaration, "all of us often go wrong"? This is no private truth for Christians, but God's truth; and therefore public truth describing public servants. Really, it's commendable SCOTHUS admits its errors and corrects itself.

What's not commendable is that they choose secrecy.

Wouldn't we all agree it's worth knowing that retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor removed from her 2003 concurrence with that paragon of jurisprurience, Lawrence v. Texas, her declaration that Justice Scalia “apparently agrees” that the Texas law banning sodomy was a violation of the court's commitment to equal protection? The misstatement was in O'Connor's concurrence issued in June of 2003, but it was deleted from the hardcover United States Reports version issued in 2006.

GIGAOM has an article on a new Twitter account, @Scotus_servo, that uses some ingenious code to provide us what our justices wish us not to know.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!