SCOTUSblog tries again to get credentialed to cover the Supreme Court

SCOTUSblog has again applied for press credentials to the U.S. Senate’s Daily Press Gallery, the first step for the blog gaining its own press credentials to cover the U.S. Supreme Court. “We are just beginning on it, and it will take a while for us to vet it,” Press Gallery director Joe Keenan tells Poynter in an email.

SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein previously told Poynter’s Mallary Tenore “his understanding from staff conversations with the Senate Press Gallery was that SCOTUSblog wouldn’t qualify because it doesn’t have broad-based advertising.”

Linda Greenhouse wrote Wednesday night that the blog’s sponsorship by Bloomberg might get it through the gate: “We’d look at them all over again,” she reports Keenan told her, “noting that the gallery has changed substantially since my own brief stint covering Congress in the mid-1980’s.”

Reached by email, Goldstein confirms the Press Gallery has asked SCOTUSblog for more information. “It’s odd, because we had the sponsor when we were turned down last time. But we’re trying, and they are being very collegial about it,” he writes.

Keenan told Tenore, “if a practicing lawyer applied to us, there is almost no way they would be credentialed.” Goldstein and his wife Amy Howe run SCOTUSblog out of Goldstein & Russell, a boutique law firm “focusing on representation before the United States Supreme Court,” as the firm’s site puts it. Keenan also told Tenore the Press Gallery’s rules for credentialing haven’t been updated in a decade but noted online publications including The Huffington Post and The Daily Caller had been credentialed.

SCOTUSblog currently gets access to the court because its reporter, Lyle Denniston, files reports for WBUR in Boston as well. But Dennison is 81 and could conceivably stop reporting on the Supreme Court at some point. SCOTUSblog provides invaluable coverage of the court, Greenhouse writes.

The court’s agenda-setting function is one of its most important and least transparent, yet the Supreme Court’s own Web site doesn’t post petitions. Scotusblog does, selectively, providing an invaluable service to anyone following the court from outside the building – as well as to many Supreme Court reporters whom the Scotusblog list saves from having to plow through the weekly pile of petitions on their own.

Via email again, Keenan says there’s no usual time it takes to process applications for credentials.

Related: Why it’s so hard for SCOTUSblog to get Supreme Court press credentials | How SCOTUSblog prepared for today’s health care ruling | SCOTUSblog spent about $10,000 to keep site running during final days of Supreme Court term | A profile of Goldstein in The Atlantic (my wife helped fact-check that piece) | A profile of Lyle Denniston (The Washington Post)

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