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Has the Court improperly engaged in an ex parte communication with an interested party? I realize that Florida is the main party, but the USBoP is closely enough connected to this constitutional issue where it may have been ethically inappropriate for the Court to communicate with it without the parties' knowledge. Certainly a Court request such as this should be part of the public record of the case. And why did the Court leave the Solicitor General out of it? Even if the SG has not filed in the matter, wouldn't it have behooved the Court to have asked the SG to acquire the information since that office has access to all executive agencies? At the very least, the Court could have assured itself of SG oversight for accuracy. Now the Court and the SG have been diminished to some extent. Somehow it just seems wrong for the Court to seek extra-record evidence on its own. This is not Brandeis stuff where the Court could look up stuff; besides those references were in some party's brief and known to all the other parties. (IMO, observing that this is all tangential to the Florida case does not address the problem.)
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May 27, 2010