Supreme Court Justices and Internet Legal Research

Scott Gerber s-gerber at
Wed Apr 20 07:16:12 PDT 2005

Justice Kennedy should be commended, rather than criticized, for doing 
his own legal research.  I wish more judges did their own research.  
(I'm not saying a judge shouldn't read lawyers' briefs or law clerks' 
memos, but at the end of the day it is the judge's decision that 

Scott Gerber
Law College
Ohio Northern University

James Maule wrote:

>Tom Delay's criticism yesterday of Justice Kennedy for doing his own
>research and using the internet to do legal research left me with two
>questions that I asked in <a href=
>post on this morning's MauledAgain blog.</a>
>DeLay said, "We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon
>international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's
>just outrageous. And not only that, but he said in session that he does
>his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."
>Quoting my blog: "Although the issue of whether international law
>should inform Supreme Court decisions is a real one with respect to
>which there are conflicting views, it startled me that someone would
>think it "incredibly outrageous" that a Supreme Court justice would do
>research and would use the Internet to do so.* * * * *"
>My questions, asked in my blog post:
>Is it unconstitutional or illegal for a Supreme Court justice to do his
>or her own research?
>Is it unconstitutional or illegal to use the Internet for legal
>[Of course I ask the second question sarcastically, and it comes across
>better in the context of my blog post. Seriously, is there some sort of
>taboo on Supreme Court justices doing their own research? Am I missing
>something here or has DeLay somehow bounced into a strange corner of the
>Jim Maule
>Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
>Villanova PA 19085
>maule at
>President, TaxJEM Inc (computer assisted tax law instruction)
>Publisher, JEMBook Publishing Co. (
>Maule Family Archivist & Genealogist (
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Scott Gerber
Law College
Ohio Northern University
Ada, OH 45810

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