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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  / May-June 2012


Opinio Juris - May/June2012

Scroll down to read about a new legislative tracking tool from the Sunlight Foundation, State Attorney General Opinions on HeinOnline, federal docket access on Bloomberg Law, Repledge.com, and the most-cited law review articles of all-time. For information on other topics, see the Moritz Legal Information Blog and the Moritz Law Library Facebook page.

New Legislative Tracking Tool from Sunlight Foundation

The Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting open government, has launched a free legislative tracking tool called Scout. Scout allows users to track activity in Congress and all 50 state legislatures, as well as regulatory developments in the Federal Register. Entering search terms will show where the terms are mentioned in Congressional or state bills, the Congressional Record, and the Federal Register. Users can set up alerts by email, text message, or RSS feed for future occurences of search terms or updates on particular bills. Scout complements other freely available legislative tracking resources such as GovTrack, OpenCongress, and the Library of Congress' THOMAS site.

State Attorney General Opinions on HeinOnline

Moritz Law Library's subscription to HeinOnline now includes access to a collection of State Attorney General Reports and Opinions. The collection includes opinions and reports for all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Coverage begins at least as early as 1980 for each state. For the states of California, New York, Washington, and Wyoming, opinions are available from inception. Hein plans to add the remaining opinions for the rest of the states within the next year. Coverage for Ohio currently begins in 1973 with earlier opinions available in print at the Moritz Law Library. HeinOnline's State Attorney General Reports and Opinions collection is accessible on-campus or off-campus with OSU authentication.

Bloomberg Law Federal Dockets

Moritz Law Library's subscription to Bloomberg Law includes access to federal court filings (via PACER) under Bloomberg's "Litigation and Dockets" tab. Bloomberg's docket coverage is extensive and includes some filings not accessible on Westlaw and Lexis. Searching is possible by a variety of fields including docket number, keyword, party name, and judge. Within a particular docket, click the "update docket" link for the most recent filings. Bloomberg sends notification by email once the docket has been updated and once requested documents are available. Document numbers appearing in blue can be accessed immediately. Document numbers appearing in green need to be requested. Bloomberg's dockets database includes additional features such as docket tracking and "docket analytics," which provides charts and tables of civil filings around the country involving particular companies or parties. Consult a reference librarian for assistance accessing Bloomberg Law or federal court filings.


UCLA law professor Eric Zolt and others have created a website called Repledge, which aims to reduce some of the money given toward political campaigns. Currently in beta form, Repledge "attempts to connect individual contributors who agree to transform their political contributions into charitable donations if a supporter of the opposing political candidate matches the contribution." The political donations are essentially canceled-out and the money diverted to charity, increasing the "social utility" of the donations. According to a Huffington Post article, Zolt already practices this concept with his wife, who does not share his political views. The Federal Election Commission is currently considering Repledge's request for an advisory opinion on whether the site complies with federal election law.

Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All-Time

Fred Shapiro and Michelle Pearse, law librarians at Yale and Harvard, respectively, have published a study of the most-cited law review articles of all-time. Shapiro published two similar studies in 1985 and 1996, and has been dubbed the founding father of the field of "legal citology." The most recent study, which appears in the Michigan Law Review, lists the top 100 articles by number of citations. The top five are:


1. R.H. Coase, The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J.L. & Econ. 1 (1960).
2. Samuel D. Warren & Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890).
3. O.W. Holmes, The Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457 (1897).
4. Gerald Gunther, The Supreme Court, 1971 Term—Foreword: In Search of Evolving Doctrine on a Changing Court: A Model for a Newer Equal Protection, 86 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1972).
5. Herbert Wechsler, Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law, 73 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1959).


Shapiro also includes tables showing the most-cited articles by year (1990-2009) and the most-cited articles of all-time in certain subjects such as antitrust, family law, intellectual property, and international law.