Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.
On Oct. 5, the United States Supreme Court resumed work after its annual summer break. The Supreme Court plays a critical part in American life that transcends its role as the top court in the federal judicial system. The Court's rulings, whether on free speech or criminal procedure or job discrimination, often have a direct impact on life in this country.
To get inside the Court, it helps to have an expert guide.
"Scotus Blog is a website devoted to coverage of the United States Supreme Court. So we cover the day-to-day workings of the Court and its major cases," said Amy Howe, a lawyer and an editor at ScotusBlog.com. "SCOTUS" is an acronym for Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court has its own website, of course, but critics say it's not as useful as it could be.
"We try to fill some of the gaps in the sense of getting things up on line quickly," Howe said. "And then because people know that we follow, for example, cases that the Court may grant review in, people will send us electronic copies of things so that we can post petitions for certiorari, which are briefs asking the Court to review a particular case, on our website. So we're able to make some more information available to the public."
The site's staff includes veteran journalist Lyle Denniston, who has been covering the Court for half a century. Amy Howe and some of the other people behind Scotus Blog are lawyers who argue cases before the Supreme Court. When they argue those cases, they are passionate advocates for their clients. But online, Howe says, they try to be as neutral and objective as possible.
"There are four of us who are advocates at the Court, but we do try very hard to keep our role as advocates at the Court separate from our role as contributors to the blog."
An in-depth look at the U.S. Supreme Court at ScotusBlog.com, or visit our site, VOANews.com, for the link to this and more than 250 other Websites of the Week.