We’ve Added Thousands More Citations to Historical Supreme Court Opinions

We have a small update to share today, as we’ve wrapped up adding thousands of historical Supreme Court citations to our collection. These are the original citations for the Supreme Court from 1754 to 1874, from before when the United States Reports had begun. Previously we had many of these citations, but as of today we can say we have historical citations for our entire SCOTUS collection.

For the unfamiliar, Supreme Court citations were originally named after the Reporter of Decisions for the Supreme Court from the time the opinion was published. For example, the first person to do this was Alexander Dallas, and his citations start at 1 Dall. 1 (1754), and go forward to 4 Dall. 446 (1806). After Dallas came a long line of other reporters, each of whom named their series of books after himself until 1875, when congress began appropriating money for the full time creation of these reporters and demanded they be called the “United States Reports.”

18 Stat. 204 (1874)

A snapshot of 18 Stat. 204 (1874), which allocated $25,000 to the Supreme Court for printing (about $557,100 today).

At that time, 91 U.S. 1 was the first case to be born with …

more ...

Our Newest Launch: A SCOTUS Data Viz Tool

We here at Free Law Project are happy to announce the launch of our Supreme Court Citation Network tool. Created in collaboration with the SCOTUS Mapping Project at the University of Baltimore, the tool permits users to create citation networks that represent “lines of cases” in Supreme Court doctrine. With the tool, users can also visualize, analyze, and share the networks they create.

Consider the network above. It was created with the tool and embedded directly into this post. Similar to a YouTube video, you can interact with it, hovering on the nodes to see the full case name, or clicking them to open them in a new tab. Of course, you can also open the visualization in its own page, where you’ll find more detail and analysis.

The visualization leverages Supreme Court Database (Spaeth) to show a surprising fact about the recently departed Justice Scalia: He was a liberal on the Fourth Amendment. The map is anchored by two Scalia opinions in which the supposedly conservative justice sided with an accused marijuana criminal — Kyllo (protecting weed grower from warrantless thermal imaging search) and Jardines (protecting weed grower from warrantless dog sniffing search).

After you’ve created a visualization …

more ...