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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  /November 2009

Opinio Juris - November 2009

Scroll down to learn about Case Law Research on Google Scholar, Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals, Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline, 100 Milestone Documents, and Fantasy SCOTUS.

Case Law Research on Google Scholar

Google announced this month that users will be able “to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts" using Google Scholar. According to Google, "Google Scholar allows you to search and read opinions for US state appellate and supreme court cases since 1950, US federal district, appellate, tax and bankruptcy courts since 1923 and US Supreme Court cases since 1791." Users interested in doing case law research will probably find the advanced search screen easier to use than the basic search.  This is an exciting development for those interested in free public access of legal information; however, legal professionals should probably keep their LexisNexis and Westlaw accounts for the time being. 

Google has not provided information about how it collects this case law, so we do not really know how comprehensive its collection is.  We also do not know how frequently the case law information is updated.  These shortcomings do substantially limit its use for legal professionals.  That being said, it is a massive undertaking to collect and update U.S. case law, so it is probably not reasonable to expect any free service to be comparable to expensive professional services like LexisNexis and Westlaw.  Google Scholar’s case law search is hopefully a sign of great things to come.        

Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals

The American Bar Association this month launched the Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals web site. The new site is intended to inform the media and the public of important cases in the federal appellate courts. “It represents a collaborative effort to broadly disseminate timely, accurate and unbiased information about noteworthy and legally significant cases in the federal courts of appeals. The site will be updated daily with postings on key decisions and alerts on upcoming cases.”

Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline

The National Constitution Center has launched Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline. This site highlights key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of constitutional history. The collection includes images as well as audio and video clips and interactive content. The web site tells the evolving story of the U.S. Constitution and the continuing role that it plays in our society.

100 Milestone Documents

The National Archives and Records Administration has compiled a list of 100 landmark documents in American History. This impressive collection includes such monumental works as George Washington's First Inaugural Address, Marbury v. Madison, and Thomas Edison's patent application for the light bulb.

Fantasy SCOTUS

For those who think that baseball and football pale in comparison to the real sport that takes place at the U.S. Supreme Court, you may have found your game. FantasySCOTUS.net has created a Supreme Court fantasy league. In this league, players compete against friends and colleagues to determine who has the greatest ability to accurately predict the outcome of U.S. Supreme Court cases. The league is free for students, and $5 for law school faculty and staff.