One of the primary concerns often voiced by critics of judges using social media is that it is demeaning to the office. I do not consider this argument particularly persuasive. To be sure, a judge can demean his or her office through the use of social media, just as he or she can do so at a local bar event by engaging in unprofessional behavior. The difference is that an unprofessional remark on social media by a judge is far more likely to receive widespread attention than a similar comment made at an event in front of only a handful of people. Indeed, this type of “viral” incident can and will harm the reputation of that judge and, no doubt, the confidence that many have in the judiciary. Nevertheless, the fact that there is the potential for some judges to embarrass themselves on social media is not, in my view, a compelling reason to support a blanket ban of all judges doing so. One could even argue that there is some benefit to having the missteps of judges documented on social media, just as the missteps of other elected officials are documented. Transparency reveals what it reveals, and it is not always going to be pretty. But knowing more about our public officials’ actions and beliefs allows us to make informed decisions on Election Day. And that, in my view, is a good thing.But what about Federal Judges? Should they be using social media? Some judges, like 7th Circuit Judge Posner, are prolific bloggers. Or at least used to be. I really enjoyed District Judge Kopf's blog, but that was shut down too. And now, of course, there's #appellatetwitter (see the law.com article here). You can guess my opinion... we need more interaction with the judiciary and social media is a good place for it. But it's hard to imagine some of our federal judges tweeting.
Anyway, here's your moment of zen: