Journalist with nearly 60 years of SCOTUS reporting experience announces retirement

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Lyle Denniston, who’s spent nearly 60 years as a U.S. Supreme Court journalist, announced his retirement Tuesday on Twitter.

“After 58 years of SCt journalism, 69 in the trade, retiring next wk after final opins & orders. Far, far too many to thank one by one,” wrote the 86-year-old Denniston under his Twitter handle, @lylden. ‏

In an interview with the ABA Journal, Denniston said he and his wife had been discussing his retirement for a few years.

“I guess what really convinced me that it’s time is that I had some spinal surgery at the end of December, and coming back has been very difficult and very slow,” says Denniston, who left SCOTUSBlog last year, to write for Constitution Daily. According to a June 23 post, he intends to continue writing through July and fulfill some commitments to the University of Baltimore Law School in the fall.

“It has always been my belief that a journalist can only succeed at the craft if he or she is blessed with perceptive, intelligent and occasionally skeptical readers. Thank you, all, for taking this journey with me,” wrote Denniston, who has written about the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 50 years, according to his Constitution Center biography.

A 1955 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Denniston also worked as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, Washington Star, Baltimore Sun and Boston Globe, and has taught at Penn State, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and American University, according to a profile released by Nebraska in 2001.

The rise of blogging and social media proved to be anything but a detriment to Denniston.

“I confess that in the early days I questioned how a reporter from an earlier generation with such great experience would adapt to the technology and format of blogging,” Tom Goldstein, the U.S. Supreme Court lawyer who publishes SCOTUSblog, wrote in a 2016 post about Denniston’s departure for the Constitution Center.

“The answer was stark. Lyle has not been wedded to the ways of an earlier era; exactly the opposite,” the post states. “He has thrived in the ability to communicate directly and immediately with his readers.”


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