Friday, October 13, 2006

A plea to constitutional scholars and lawyers
Tom Smith

I need the help of the learned readers of this blog!  I am testing a new kind of legal search engine, and I need lists of ideal search results to help.  So, if you were searching for US Supreme Court cases on a given topic of law, using a search engine as you would if Google worked on case law, you would use a search consisting of a number of terms, and you would get back a list of cases.  So, you might have this:

State Sovereign Immunity

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996)

Fitzpatrick   v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976 

Hans   v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1 (1890

Ex   Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1909) 

Lincoln   County v. Luning, 133 U.S. 529 (1890 

Alden   v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999)

City   of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997)   

Atascadero   State Hospital v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234 (1985

Tennessee   v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509 (2004) 

Nevada   Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721 (2003)

Board   of Trustees, University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356 (2001) 

Florida   Prepaid v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999)

Federal   Maritime Commission v. South Carolina Port Authority, 535 U.S. 743 (2002)

I need some more lists like this!  But, on different topics.  The more obscure (well, within reason), the better.  That is, topics defined by search strings, and then a list of cases that the search engine should produce.  Preferably in order of the most relevant and authoritative on down, as judged by you.  After all, it's your search. 

Any lists you generously decide to generate may be sent to me at tacsmith-at-gmail-dot-com.  Help legal technology march forward!  Save future generations of lawyers and law students from the horrors of plowing through primitive search engine data dumps!  Earn the eternal gratitude of energy-challenged middle aged legal academics!  (BTW any legal blogs that want to link to this earnest, even pathetic, request, would also earn my undying gratitude.)

WELCOME Volokh Conspiracy readers!  Sorry about the formatting error before.  I use Firefox mostly, and it does that sometimes when I cut and paste from Excel.  It is devilishly tedious to fix as well.  I am really trying to hold out against IE, however.  I finally switched to Word, but there are limits.

I hope within a couple of weeks, we can put the pre-pre-Beta search engine up, and learned blog readers can play with it a bit.

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Tom Smith