I always enjoy when judges show their personal side, whether cracking a joke in court or showcasing their pop culture acumen in written opinions.
But I had never heard of a sitting judge on Twitter until I came across Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett. He tweets with sarcasm, self-awareness and occasionally in the style of a Gawker writer. (And I say that as a compliment.)
In a recent interview, Willett said he joined Twitter in 2009 but became prolific when he was running for reelection two years ago, calling it “political malpractice not to engage in social media” in a state of 26 million people.
The Texas high court has never prevented Willett from tweeting, and he said he follows a few self-imposed rules:
I don’t throw partisan sharp elbows or discuss issues that could appear before the Court. While I post links to U.S. legal news, I never give my $0.02 on disputed legal issues or pending cases. I strive to keep things witty, informative and interesting. …Succinctness is the enemy of nuance. It’s tough to be precise in 140 characters, so conveying tone/nuance is tough. I just self-censor and try to be careful.
While I think it’s cool that a judge is savvy in social media, I can see where potential problems could arise. What about you – how would you feel if your local judge was active on Twitter?