The court marshal’s office of the United States Supreme court on Tuesday asked a lawyer who had been having updates of oral arguments over the 2009 healthcare law tweeted to stop.
Casey Mattox was listening to arguments from the overflow room at the Supreme Court, not the 400 seat courtroom, and periodically would leave the room, and from the hallway, email an update of the arguments to a staff member of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative group for which Mattox is senior counsel. The ADF staff member would then use the emails from Mattox to tweet real time updates about the oral arguments over the health care bill taking place in the Supreme Court.
The ADF Twitter account, which has more than 4,800 followers and almost 3,000 tweets, began tweeting on Tuesday the 27th with this reminder for people to tune in for updates on the healthcare arguments: “ADF providing live Twitter updates from #ObamaCare arguments at #SCOTUS” and nearly 90 tweets describing events in the court follow including this one: “Justice Sotomayor asks for explanation on the three seemingly different arguments from Solicitor General #ObamaCare #SCOTUS”
Katie Blechacz, spokesperson for the ADF said Mattox complied when the court marshal’s office asked him to stop sending them updates because the Supreme Court has a policy against electronic communication. The last tweets on the healthcare arguments from @AllianceDefenseFund came at 11:14, 45 minutes before the proceedings ended.
ADF spokesperson Blechacz said Mattox was confused about the court’s rules regarding electronic communication, although Supreme Court Kathy spokesperson Kathy Arberg said there are two signs in the lawyer’s lounge stating that cellular phones and other electronic devices are not allowed inside. The Alliance Defense Fund twitter account made no secrets of its plans to update followers on the oral arguments over healthcare at the Supreme Court, even posting an update on March 26 announcing that it planned to do so and inviting followers to log on for updates: “We will be live-tweeting the #Obamacare #SCOTUS hearings tomorrow. Follow @AllianceDefenseFund. “
The @AllianceDefenseFund tweeted sometime during the hearing that it was live tweeting not from the Supreme Court but from Arizona: “Note: We are not texting or tweeting from within #SCOTUS. We are posting Twitter updates remotely from AZ”