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Monday, May 23, 2011

Photos in Supreme Court Opinions

The Supreme Court has just issued the decision in Brown v. Plata.  The Court, 5-4, upheld the district court's injunction ordering the release of up to 46,000 California prisoners to remedy unconstitutional overcrowding.  Notably, the Court appended three photographs to the opinion to demonstrate the overcrowding.  I recall that in Scott v. Harris, the Court attached a link to the video of the police chase at issue in that case, and re-districting cases sometimes include maps.  But does anyone know of any other case in which the Court has attached photographs?

Posted by Michael J.Z. Mannheimer on May 23, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Permalink


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NY Times v. Sullivan includes the full page advertisement as a foldout.

Posted by: David Levine | May 25, 2011 5:10:18 PM

Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) had the the thermal imaging pictures in question attached.

Posted by: P.J. Blount | May 23, 2011 3:21:09 PM

I believe Robin Kelsey, the Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography and Director of Graduate Studies in the History at Harvard University is working on a book or at least a paper on photography and the Supreme Court. We workshopped a version of the paper last summer, and it was very interesting....

Posted by: I. Glenn Cohen | May 23, 2011 2:18:34 PM

Van Orden v. Perry, 546 U.S. 677 (2005)

Posted by: Dahlia Lithwick | May 23, 2011 1:18:41 PM

I don't know if there's anything more recent, but there's a neat Harvard Law Review article from 1997 on this subject: Hampton Dellinger, Words Are Enough: The Troublesome Use of Photographs, Maps, and Other Images in Supreme Court Opinions, 110 Harv. L. Rev. 1704 (1997).

Posted by: Derek Muller | May 23, 2011 12:02:16 PM

Now that you mention it, I think the Ten Commandments cases from a few years back had pictures attached to the opinion.

Posted by: Michael J.Z. Mannheimer | May 23, 2011 11:46:10 AM

At least one and maybe more of the First Amendment religious display/public forum cases, e.g. Pinette. Don't recall whether it was majority or dissent.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | May 23, 2011 10:54:55 AM

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