More than six years ago, when California political science Professor Peter Irons sought to market the Supreme Court’s oral argument tapes, the Court’s first reaction was to threaten the professor with a lawsuit.

It appears the Court — or at least Chief Justice William Rehnquist — has traveled a long way since then, judging by Tuesday’s remarkable decision by the Judicial Conference to, in effect, allow federal judges’ financial disclosure forms to be posted on the Internet.

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