September 01, 2015

From the Bench: Judicial Transparency and Blogging Judges

A judge describes the promise and perils of blogging by judges.

Hon. Richard G. Kopf

 Download a printable PDF of this article.

I write a blog entitled Hercules and the umpire. I concentrate on American federal judges, particularly in the district courts. If you don’t like my blog or think blogging by a federal judge is unseemly or just plain wrong, blame the Canadians. Let me explain.

The best movie ever made came out in 1995. It is a deeply serious movie entitled Canadian Bacon. It stars John Candy as American sheriff Bud Boomer, who, after a beer brawl at a hockey game in Ontario, invades Canada with the silent backing of the president of the United States.

Despite these hostilities, when Canada, in the form of a Canadian law review, wrote and asked me to do a favor, I agreed. I planned to lull them into a sense of complacency by furthering “cooperation” between our two nations. So I wrote an article extolling greater transparency in the judiciary. See Richard G. Kopf, The Courts, the Internet, E-Filing and Democracy, 56 U.N.B. L.J. 40 (2007) (“[A] court finds its proper place in democracy only when the court is transparent.”).

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