Packed court docket is a boom for SCOTUSblog

A series of high-profile decisions from the Supreme Court this term have meant a giant jump in traffic and attention for the SCOTUSblog.

Kai Ryssdal: Come Thursday morning about 10 o'clock or so Washington time, this sound -- typing -- will be what tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds of thousands, will hear as they're waiting for the health care ruling.

That's the signature sound of SCOTUSblog.com. It's what you hear as the site live-blogs Court decisions as they're handed down.

From Washington, Marketplace's David Gura has more on the site and its moment in the sun.


David Gura: SCOTUSblog is the brainchild of two lawyers: Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe. They specialize in Supreme Court cases.

Gura: You’re also a couple?

Amy Howe: Yes, we’re married.

Tom Goldstein: It started out as a two-person shop in our second bedroom.

It was 2002, and Goldstein thought the blog would be a good way to gin up business for his firm. But it turned into something else. Two years later, SCOTUSblog it was on its way to becoming the go-to site for news about the Supreme Court.

Howe: I think the big development was really when we hired Lyle Denniston to come on as a full-time reporter.

That’s a guy who has been on the Supreme Court beat for more than half a century. Goldstein says SCOTUSblog now has an annual budget of about $400,000, and a big-name sponsor: Bloomberg Law. Lately, especially on decision days, traffic on the site has been crazy.

Goldstein: We went from having a thousand people on the live blog, to having a thousand people join the live blog in a single second.

Last week, that crashed the site’s server. But Goldstein says they’ve upgraded. And they’re ready for Thursday, when, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, they expect at least 250,000 visitors. 

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace. 

About the author

David Gura is a senior reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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