Articles Tagged with universal citation


printingThe Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently announced that it will move to “in-house publishing” of its opinions. According to the press release, “Court staff now manage the process of converting opinions from the original word processing documents into Adobe PDF files, which are then uploaded onto the website, where they can be viewed and/or downloaded by the public.” This task was previously managed by West Publishing, and bringing it in house is expected to save the court $350,000 in the first year.

Hooray? Sort of. I’m glad the Ninth Circuit will be saving itself over a quarter of a million dollars, but that’s basically the only public benefit here. In fact, the headline on the press release is a bit misleading, because the court is not officially publishing their own opinions – West is still doing that. The documents they post are only slip opinions. They are official and can be cited only for a short time before they are published by the official publisher (The Federal Reporter, owned by Thompson West). In order to effect real savings and provide true open access for the public, the Ninth Circuit needs to take this further and actually publish their own opinions.

Right now, when the Ninth Circuit judges issue an opinion and release it on the Web, it is immediately available to read and cite as a slip. After that, however, they send the opinions to Westlaw, who copy-edits each opinion and adds a citation in order to resell it in this final “official” version (in the Federal Reporter). I talked with David Madden in the Public Information Office at the Court, and he confirmed that this process will not change; West’s Federal Reporter will continue to publish the official opinions. Continue reading →


A hat tip to our friend Ed Walters over at FastCase who alerted us to the news that Colorado has proposed adopting a public domain citation format for its Supreme Court and Court of Appeals published opinions. (Yay!)  By our count, this means there will now be seventeen states using some form of universal / vendor neutral citation for their court opinions.

A link to the proposal (in PDF) is here.  Public comments are welcome on the proposed changes but must be in by December 12, 2011.
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As readers of this blog, you probably already know that we at Justia are big fans of universal citation. With that said, I wanted to give you all a heads up that Courtney, in continuing to fight that good fight, has written a great piece on the topic which is now up  on Cornell’s VoxPopuLII blog. In it, she generally discusses media neutral citation and more specifically provides details of the work we’ve been doing here in applying universal citation to Justia’s corpus of state codes.  Head on over and check it out!

Additional Links & Resources – current movement to provide the organizational infrastructure needed to facilitate the adoption and use of a uniform set of media and vendor neutral citations that can be used for all American court decisions.  This site also has links to lots of great resources on the history and work that’s been done in the field so far.

From the Onward Blog: