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US Supreme Court shuts down live tweeting from healthcare proceedings

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Right-wing group the Alliance Defense Fund was caught livetweeting Supreme Court proceedings and ordered to stop.

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

A mini-scandal erupted yesterday at the US Supreme Court when right-wing non-profit group the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was found to be live-tweeting oral arguments on the constitutionality of the 'Obamacare' healthcare law. Electronic communication is strictly forbidden from inside the court, but Casey Mattox, a lawyer for ADF, was caught "defending religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage & the family" by way of the Defense Fund's official Twitter account.

According to Reuters, Mattox was listening to proceedings from the Lawyer's Room adjacent to the Court itself, and was seen frequently stepping out into the corridor to send updates to a colleague who would tweet them out. The ADF was successful in its attempts to cover the proceedings for most of the day, until it was drawn to the attention of the court marshal's office, who told Mattox to stop.

The Supreme Court enforces the rules in an attempt to "maintain decorum and limit the influence of the media on what lawyers and the justices say." A spokesperson for the Alliance Defense Fund says it was tweeting from a remote location (which is clearly not completely true), and that Mattox was unaware of any written rules ahead of time.