Articles Tagged with LII

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EraserBy now, you’ve all read that Justice Antonin Scalia made a series of mistakes in the dissenting opinion of EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. The Supreme Court issued a corrected version of the opinion on its website. For more on the story, read the coverage in the WSJ Law Blog, the Volokh Conspiracy, or SCOTUSBlog. They’ll give you the background – this post will discuss publishing implications, and why it’s problematic that the Court doesn’t notify the public when they make revisions to opinions.

Here’s how the Supreme Court’s electronic publishing process works. The first version of the opinion, called the bench opinion, is released in XML format to a handful of publishers (the “Project Hermes” feed). Later that day, a PDF version – the “slip opinion” – is released on the Court’s website. The slip opinions may be further edited, and then the official opinions are published in the bound volumes as citable opinions.

The Supreme Court’s website issues the following disclaimer about the slip opinions found therein:

Caution: These electronic opinions may contain computer-generated errors or other deviations from the official printed slip opinion pamphlets. Moreover, a slip opinion is replaced within a few months by a paginated version of the case in the preliminary print, and–one year after the issuance of that print–by the final version of the case in a U. S. Reports bound volume. In case of discrepancies between the print and electronic versions of a slip opinion, the print version controls. In case of discrepancies between the slip opinion and any later official version of the opinion, the later version controls.

The Court occasionally issues new versions of slip opinions, but they don’t always notify the public when they do so.  Professor Emeritus of Cornell Law School and legal information expert Peter Martin has written about this, noting that most changes are for minor typographical errors. However, there have been instances where a significant change was made:

Far more recent history includes the removal of a lengthy footnote from the majority opinion in Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010).  The slip opinion file now at the Court’s web site carries no notice of the revision beyond the indication in the “properties” field that it was modified over two weeks after the opinion’s filing date.  To see the original footnote 31 one must go to the CourtListener site or a collection like that of Cornell’s LII built on the assumption that a slip opinion distributed by the Court on day of decision will not be changed prior to its appearance in a preliminary print.

The changes made to Scalia’s dissent in EME Homer were arguably significant. They were also very public. As far as I can tell, it was Law Professor Richard Lazarus who first discovered the error. He blogged about it, it was picked up by national news, and that’s why we know that the change was made. The Supreme Court notified Professor Lazarus of the change, but there is no mention of it on their site. They simply swapped opinions.


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In a few days, several of us here at Justia will be traveling to “gorges” Ithaca, New York, to attend the 2012 Law Via the Internet Conference at Cornell Law School. The conference marks the 20th Anniversary of the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell Law School, the Internet’s first legal website and the world’s leading online source for free legal information.

Since 1992, the LII has been committed to providing free and open access to the law—a mission aligned with Justia’s own mission to advance the availability of legal resources for the benefit of society.

With its opening reception on Sunday, October 7, the LII is welcoming to this global event nearly 300 advocates of open legal access from around the world.


Posted in: Justia News

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Our friends at CALI [Computer Assisted Legal Instruction] and Cornell LII have issued a series of helpful e-books for lawyers, law students, and anyone else who wants quick and free access to the Federal Rules. The Federal Rules of Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Procedure are available for free download on CALI’s site. The book’s are based on Cornell LII’s federal rules collection, and are current to December 2010. They include the Advisory Committee’s notes, a functioning Table of Contents, internal links and external links to the LII site. They are “DRM-free” which means you can read them on any device you choose.

This is a great free reference tool–download now!


Posted in: Legal Research

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Folks, it’s pledge week here at the Justia Blog. Want to support free law? Donate to the Cornell Legal Information Institute!

The LII was the first law site on the Internet. It is dedicated to educating citizens and providing them with access to the laws that govern the United States. The LII provides federal law, editorial materials that help interpret and explain it, and technological support and innovation to help expand access. You have probably used the LII to look at the US Code–it presents a much easier, cleaner interface than the official government site. It also provides the Constitution,  C.F.R., Federal Rules, the U.C.C., and access to World Law. The site is well designed and organized, with excellent search features and true ease of use. It is both consumer and lawyer friendly.


Posted in: Legal Research
Tagged: Cornell, LII

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The folks at Justia traveled from Silicon Valley, California to New York City this past weekend to meet with clients and get a taste of the Big Apple.

We came to see our friends Tom Bruce and Paul Miller from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute:



Posted in: Justia News

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Hi Friends,

Tom Bruce, Dan Nagy and Deborah Schaaf from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School stopped on by for some meetings with folks on new free information projects. The LII gang met with us, Nolo, Stanford and FreeGovInfo.info 🙂 And there was a talk on privacy on the Internet with David Schellhase & Michael Blum moderated by Kevin Haroff. Here are some pictures of Tom in action making things happen…

Jake Warner and Tom Bruce


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Cornell Law Hi Friends,

One of the biggest forces in free online legal information, Tom Bruce, Director of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School stopped by to meet with the gang at Justia. It was great talking through ideas about the future of legal information. We are going to do some work together on new fun projects which will benefit the populations of the Internets 🙂 It is going to be fantastic!!!

Tom Bruce at Stanford


Posted in: Legal Research