Monday, October 16, 2006

Tom Smith's Supreme Court search engine

Tom SmithRatio Juris correspondent Tom Smith has issued this plea for expert assistance. Ratio Juris is happy to oblige. Tom, when you're done with the project, we hope you'll post the results on this forum, in addition to your home grounds at The Right Coast.

Herewith Tom's request:

A plea to constitutional scholars and lawyers
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)
* * * *
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.)


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