SCOTUS Chief Issues Alert Ahead Of Election

In his annual year-end report, Chief Justice John Roberts in late December turned his attention to the impacts artificial intelligence may have on the federal judiciary, the Associated Press reported.

Roberts described AI as the “latest technological frontier” and outlined the impact artificial intelligence could have on the legal profession, noting that its use necessitated “caution and humility.”

The chief justice acknowledged that for people without a lot of money, artificial intelligence could make it easier to access the courts, with the “potential to smooth out any mismatch between available resources and urgent needs.”

Roberts’ year-end report does not delve into cases that are either currently or likely to appear before the Supreme Court. In past years, the chief justice has used his reports to advocate for increased security and pay increases for federal judges, as well as to highlight other technological changes affecting the federal judiciary.

In the latest report, Roberts, who often uses sports analogies, compared artificial intelligence in the judiciary to tennis to make the case that technology isn’t likely to replace human judges anytime soon.

He argued that optical technology used in tennis matches to determine if a ball is in or out does not require discretion whereas in a courtroom, “legal determinations often involve gray areas” that necessitate “human judgment.”

Roberts predicted that while judges won’t be replaced by artificial intelligence, AI will significantly affect judicial work, “particularly at the trial level.”

The Chief Justice’s report comes as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen admitted that he inadvertently gave his attorney non-existent court rulings created by artificial intelligence that his attorney then included in a court filing requesting that Cohen’s supervised release end early.

In a declaration submitted to US District Judge Jesse Furman, Cohen said he came across the cases while doing research through the AI-generative Google Bard, unaware that the program could create non-existent cases.

In early 2022, two attorneys were fined $5,000 each by a Manhattan federal court judge for citing non-existent court cases that were created by the AI chatbot ChatGPT.