This is… not optimal.
Obviously not the news we’d hoped for: Senate Press Gallery has denied our #presspass application, won’t renew Lyle’s. Next up: the appeal.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) April 11, 2014
Background: SCOTUSblog is the go-to site for Supreme Court coverage in this business. They have smart people covering and analyzing the various stuff that appears before the court; they’re also neutrals in the partisan wars. Everybody uses their material, from Left to Right. The problem that they’re having now with continuing that coverage is… well, that government institutions have difficulty keeping up with modern developments. The rules for who can and cannot get permanent credentials to cover the Supreme Court have not been updated since 2002. As a reminder, in 2002 we did not have YouTube, Twitter, or even Facebook. The blogosphere existed, but was free-form anarchy. The primitive ancestor of today’s tablet computers had just been released… in short, the rules are not designed for current conditions. And the loophole that SCOTUSblog was using (they had a reporter who had the ‘right’ kind of media membership to permit permanent credentials) is apparently no longer valid.
Now, SCOTUSblog can still get a daily pass for their coverage (unless they’ve changed that rule). But there are still two questions. One: why has the Supreme Court credentialing process not been updated to take into account (in a timely fashion )technology-driven changes to reporting? Two: can they even update, in a timely fashion? This issue has been a concern for a decade, now. I understand fully that the rules are the rules; but if those rules are excluding a resource that everybody – everybody – uses, then the problem is ultimately with the rules, not the ‘offending’ resource.
And this is one reason why so many people are small-government conservatives. It’s not always the dumb stuff that the government does: sometimes it’s the dumb stuff that the government does that nobody in the government actually wants to do. Because I’m pretty sure that nobody at the Senate Press Gallery particularly likes making SCOTUSblog jump through hoops, just to cover their daily proceedings.