The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

My new approach to SCOTUS Decisions: read (and edit) first, then comment

No more hot takes.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I have been blogging for more than a decade. In the early days, I would often post "instant reactions" to decisions. I would start writing a blog post, publish it, and update it as I make my way through the decision. These were "hot takes" before "hot takes" were a thing.

I don't do that anymore. Now, my new approach is to read a decision, in its entirety, before I comment. And, if the case warrants inclusion in the Barnett/Blackman constitutional law supplement, I edit it on the spot. Westlaw makes the full text available for download shortly after the case is issued. I then strip out all the extraneous information, such as headnotes, pagination, and links. Then I shorten the decision to make it more readable. I shorten the fact section. Remove some of the precedents that are not directly relevant. Trim the concurrences and dissents. All of these steps force me to carefully consider what are the most important parts of the case.

Once I have had time to digest an opinion, in its entirety, I can consider writing about it. I admit that this moderation takes me out of the zeitgeist. I have not checked Twitter in nearly five months, and am much happier for it. But I recognize that I miss lots of opportunities to have the first say on a breaking topic. So be it. No more hot takes.