Regular readers of our blog likely are familiar with the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Rowe v. Gibson, No. 14-3316 (Aug. 19, 2015), and the considerable controversy that Judge Richard Posner created regarding the propriety of internet factual research by appellate courts. In short, Judge Posner relied on publicly available information on the web concerning the effects and use of Zantac to conclude that the district court should not have granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants in an Eighth Amendment claim.
The parties in Rowe currently are briefing the issue of whether the case should be heard en banc (see our post here), and we’ve suggested (here and in other forums) that this issue might be ripe for review—not only by all judges of the Seventh Circuit in regular active service—but by the nine justices sitting at One First Street.
Lo and behold, yesterday the Supreme Court decided, per curiam, the first case of October Term 2015, Maryland v. Kulbicki, No. 14-848 (Oct. 5, 2015), in which it upbraided the Maryland Court of Appeals for “apparently conducting its own Internet research nearly two decades after the trial.” Slip op. at 4.