How Did the White House Pick Its Law Blogger?

Law blogs are abuzz this morning over the leaked news that the White House has selected Eric Turkewitz as the first official law blogger. You can find coverage here, here, here, and here. I looked into the story, and it’s legit: According to folks I talked to, there’s no small annoyance that Turkewitz himself leaked the story on his blog, but he is indeed going to be the first White House Law Blogger. (And I suppose you should expect a blogger to leak that kind of a story — it’s a pretty bloggy thing to do.)

A few quick thoughts:

1) Does the White House really need a law blog? The White House already has a general blog, but my best sense is that no one reads it. I realize that the White House can do what it wants, but it strikes me as a bit creepy that the White House would hire a law blogger to try to influence the blawgosphere. I realize I’m on the libertarian side, but this strikes me as an area that the private sector can handle pretty well. Or so it seems to me, at least.

2) What about Marty Lederman? With all due respect to Eric Turkewitz, the Obama Administration has already hired a great law blogger: Marty Lederman, formerly of Balkinization. I don’t think Turkewitz can hold a candle to Lederman when it comes to blogging about the Executive branch: I’m a bit disappointed that the White House picked Turkewitz for the spot over Lederman. (I suppose I’m not surprised, though: Lederman was very critical of the Bush Administration, and the Obama folks may fear he would train that same critical eye on them. Better to pick someone with less experience in criticizing the Executive branch for an internal blogger.)

3) What does the introduction of a White House law blog mean for the legal blogosphere? At first blush, I tend to think this shows that the legal blogosphere is getting pretty important: The White House realizes, quite properly, that a lot of attitudes towards new laws and legal developments are being framed by legal bloggers. I suspect that over time we’ll see this development as a natural one: In 10 or 20 years, it will seem totally natural that there is a White House law blog that is part of the blogospheric mix. That’s my best sense, at least.

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