The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School is an intellectual center that explores the implications of the Internet and new information technologies for law and society. The ISP is guided by the values of democracy, development, and civil liberties. Our work includes copyright, media law and policy, transparency, and privacy.
The Roberts Supreme Court and the Divisions that Define It
The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts is deeply polarized. This term, with disputes over abortion, affirmative action, unions and voting rights, will particularly test the dueling camps. The evolution of these divisions can be understood through the personal histories of controlling justices, most notably Roberts, but also Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and newest Justice Elena Kagan, whose background mirrors Roberts’s. My speech will explore the Roberts Court and its alliances and antagonisms.
The Rise of the Right to Know: Expectations of Openness in an Age of Secrets
In an age of Snowden, Manning, and Assange, it may seem odd to argue that there are greater expectations of openness in democracies than ever before, but that is the case. Government agencies, laws, legislative procedures, civil society guardians of openness, practices of disclosure in health care, advertising, food packaging and labeling, all reinforce ideals of transparency as never before.
In the U.S. case, the focal point of this lecture, little of this goes back to the early days of the Republic, but almost all of it precedes the Internet. The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (1966) grew out of 1950s struggles inside government related to the Cold War and other advances in openness owe much to the rise of a new generation of political leadership coming to power some years before mass demonstrations and the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. This history should help us rethink the role of transparency -- and its limits -- today.