Welcome to “One First”!

Welcome to “One First,” a weekly newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States that aims to make the Court more accessible to all of us.

I’m Steve Vladeck. I have been thinking and writing about the Supreme Court for over 20 years, both as a law professor at the University of Texas, where I have taught since 2016, and as a Supreme Court Analyst for CNN, where I’ve been an analyst since 2013.

Me outside the Supreme Court on January 16, 2018, after arguing Dalmazzi v. United States.

So: Why have I decided to start a newsletter about the Supreme Court (and no, it’s not just because Twitter faces imminent collapse), and what the heck does “One First” even mean?

First: The name. “One First” is an inside baseball reference to the Supreme Court, based on its physical and mailing address (One First Street, N.E.). My wife Karen and I tried to come up with a better name and the best we (i.e., she) could do was “Dew Process” — a newsletter about the Supreme Court and weather. So, One First it is.

Second: Why a weekly newsletter? Truthfully, it’s because the Supreme Court has come to play an outsized role not just in most contemporary debates about public policy, but in a growing number of Americans’ lives. But the Court is, by both design and inertia, a notoriously cloistered institution. My goal in “One First” is to make the Court more accessible to more of us — to summarize Court-related news; to flag big (and smaller but no less important) decisions; to give non-lawyers a better understanding of how the Court actually operates as an institution (what is a “writ of certiorari,” anyway?); and to tell some of the strange-but-true stories that have come to define the Court across its 232-year history — ever since its first formal session on February 2, 1790 (it tried to meet on February 1, but lacked a quorum; awkward!).

I come at this from both an academic and practitioner’s perspective. I teach about the Supreme Court in just about all of my classes at the University of Texas and I practice before the Court (including having argued three cases—in one of which I even got some votes). And I have a new book coming out about the increasingly important technical side of the Supreme Court’s workload — “The Shadow Docket” — next spring.

Why subscribe?

I can’t claim to have all of the answers, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions and more generally try to increase public understanding and awareness of the big, small, and bizarre features of the “Highest Court in the Land” (which is also what they call the basketball court at the top of the Supreme Court Building).

The weekly newsletter, which will drop Monday mornings by 8 ET, will be free and open to all. I hope you will subscribe and invite your friends to do the same.

If you would like to upgrade to a paid subscription, you will have access to additional features every week—including monthly AMAs; bonus content (including from Karen!); and sneak previews of coming attractions (including the book). For now, though, I hope you’ll give the free version a try and, if you like what you see, support the enterprise by becoming a paid subscriber.

If you’ve gotten this far, I sincerely thank you for your support, and I look forward to engaging in a broader public dialogue about an institution that has come to play such a critically important (and controversial) role in our contemporary lives.

Oh, and Let’s Go Mets!!

Karen and me taking our older daughter (in utero) to Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS (but this is not a Mets newsletter)


People

Steve Vladeck 
University of Texas law professor thinking about the Supreme Court and the New York Mets, not necessarily in that order.
Karen Vladeck
Lawyer turned legal recruiter; Contributing author at One First; Mom to two fantastic girls (and one pug); Color commentary for Steve Vladeck