I’ve been fortunate as a reporter to have had three terrific beats in Washington: covering legal affairs on Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly, reporting on the Supreme Court for the Washington Post, and now covering it for USA Today. I’m about to switch to Reuters for a newly created legal-affairs job that I hope becomes the best of all.
Yet as I take stock, it occurs to me that a great bonus of the Court beat has been the colleagues. Journalists who come to the Supreme Court stay practically for life, like the justices. Right now there’s an especially tight group, interested in each other’s work, regularly discussing trends, watching each other’s back – well, up to a point. We’re still a competitive lot.