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Supreme Court Inadvertently Reveals Confounding Late Change in Trump Ballot Ruling

Author: Mark Joseph Stern – Slate.com

On the page, a separate opinion by the liberal justices is styled as a concurrence in the judgment, authored jointly by the trio. In the metadata of the link to the opinion posted by the court, however, this opinion is styled as an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, authored not by all three justices but by Sonia Sotomayor alone. Even a techphobic reader can discern this incongruity through careful copying and pasting, piercing the facade of unanimity that the conservative justices sought to present.
In a brief opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett said the court should not have reached this broader question about congressional authority. Sotomayor made the same point in a longer, more acerbic opinion joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Her opinion was styled as a concurrence, but we now know that it was actually, probably until late in the drafting process, labeled a dissent. We also know that the opinion was originally ascribed only to Sotomayor.

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Editor Comment:

Supreme Court politics aside, the lingering metadata demonstrates the potential a risk and value of editorial metadata embedded within documents that have not been ‘scrubbed’ prior to production. Even when revision history has been disabled, legal hold or retention policies may create unlimited versions based on Auto-Save settings. Using Save A Copy may retained older version history.  Revision history in SharePoint defaults to 500 versions, which become unlimited when under hold. As you can see from Mark Joseph Stern’s excellent speculations, a savvy counsel may be able to paint a plausible story from the version history breadcrumbs, especially when that metadata contradicts testimony. So understand your tenants default revision and autosave settings and how they may interact with retention and hold policies. Do this before certifying interrogatories or agreeing to discovery plans.

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