Errata in Supreme Court Opinions
Today I read with interest Adam Liptak’s article in The New York Times about the editing of Supreme Court opinions after they are released. I was surprised to learn that some of these edits are substantive and that there is no simple way of assessing what changes are made. Moreover, it appears that the Justices can edit for years after the case comes down (until the official reporter comes out, I guess.)
In the modern age, these practices are ridiculous. The Court could easily provide a red line or compare version of final opinions on its website. Likewise, I fail to see why it takes years for the official reporter to be published. (Can’t the Court issue a PDF version a few months after a given Term or other logical break point?) Finally, the Justices should not be able to revise their opinions after lower courts start quoting from them.