Supreme Court justices Google just like the rest of us. So this article from Wash P (Washington Post, July 9, 2012) asks “Should they?”
Well, first of all — this was an interesting article, demonstrating how American supreme court judges use material and ‘real life’ examples in their rulings (ie as part of the legal argument they present in said ruling)
Scalia cited a nine-day-old newspaper article in his dissent, and he is hardly alone: The justices routinely supplement their arguments with facts, studies, media reports, law review articles and other materials that none of the parties in the case before them ever put forward or countered. How judges use generalized facts about the world in their legal decisions has become a new focus of legal academic research.
They conclusion: not surprisingly — the world wide web is a great place to find information.
I do think the articles rhetorical question is overkill and the ”dilemma” is in fact not really a dilemma but a false dichotomy. Using google to find material doesn’t equal finding invalid material. Just like looking up something in a library, using google requires the user to employ basic critical thinking. If you’ve got that (and as the daughter of a lawyer I am going to assume that judges serving on the supreme court in any country have excellent logic skills and fundamental critical thinking abilities), then it’s useful.
If you haven’t gotten that..well then you’ll get lost. But again: so would you in a library with index cards if you don’t know 1) what you are looking for and 2)how to evaluate what you find.
My point is simply this: The internet is here to stay. Let’s not treat it as a novelty.
(I am only posting this picture to invite you to count the number of male and female judges. US Supreme Court 2012)