In May 2014, the NYTimes wrote about the Supreme Court continuing to edit opinions after release. Earlier this month, an NYTimes article noted that SCOTUS is now disclosing after-the-fact changes to its opinions.
The move on editing is a major development. Though changes in the court’s opinions after they are issued are common, the court has only very seldom acknowledged them. Many of the changes fix spelling or factual errors. Others are more substantial, amending or withdrawing legal conclusions.
Starting this term, a court statement said, “post-release edits to slip opinions on the court’s website will be highlighted and the date they occur will be noted.” The court’s website includes sample opinions to show how all of this will work. “The location of a revision will be highlighted in the opinion,” the statement said. “When a cursor is placed over a highlighted section, a dialogue box will open to show both old and new text.”
And in other wonderful news, SCOTUS is also addressing the problem of link rot in opinions.
The Court said it would also address what it called “the problem of ‘link rot,’ where Internet material cited in court opinions may change or cease to exist.” The Court will now collect and post the materials it links to on a dedicated page on its site.