From an email to a listserv I’m on:
[E]arlier this week, we extended Google Scholar to allow anyone anywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. We hope that this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all. As we worked to build this feature, we were struck by how readable and accessible these opinions are. Court opinions don’t just describe a decision but also present the reasons that support the decision. In doing so, they explain the intricacies of law in the context of real-life situations. And they often do it in language that is surprisingly straightforward, even for those of us outside the legal profession. In many cases, judges have gone quite a bit out of their way to make complex legal issues easy to follow. For example, in Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court justices present a fascinating and easy-to-follow debate on the legality of internment of natural born citizens based on their ancestry. And in United States v. Ramirez-Lopez, Judge Kozinski, in his dissent, illustrates the key issue of the case using an imagined good-news/bad-news dialogue between the defendant and his attorney.
The original announcement is here.Â It’s a bit of an optimistic sheen, but not ridiculously so, I think.Â Take advantage of it.