Clever piece of code exposes hidden changes to Supreme Court opinions

From a comment on the article:
Chum Lee Junior
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Similar scenario to “Animal Farm”, where the pigs kept changing the laws that were written on the wall, knowing that most of the animals couldn’t read, or were too stupid to understand the meaning of the changes.


Supreme Court opinions are the law of the land, and so it’s a problem when the Justices change the words of the decisions without telling anyone. This happens on a regular basis, but fortunately a lawyer in Washington appears to have just found a solution.

The issue, as Adam Liptak explained in the New York Times, is that original statements by the Justices about everything from EPA policy to American Jewish communities, are disappearing from decisions — and being replaced by new language that says something entirely different. As you can imagine, this is a problem for lawyers, scholars, journalists and everyone else who relies on Supreme Court opinions.

Until now, the only way to detect when a decision has been altered is a pain-staking comparison of earlier and later copies — provided, of course, that someone knew a decision had been changed in the first place.  Thanks to a simple Twitter tool, the process may become much easier.

Code to the rescue

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Author: Brad Slusher

A document covered with good intentions and proclamations, signed by men of questionable character, is incapable of restraining the avarice of a government.

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