New SCOCAL Resource – 9th Circuit Questions of Certification to the California Supreme Court

Thanks to the good folks at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, the SCOCAL site now has a terrific new resource.

The 9th Circuit Questions of Certification to the California Supreme Court page contains a detailed list, with links, of all the questions certified to the California Supreme Court by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The practice began in 1998 and the list includes current cases.

Under California Rules of Court, Rule 8.548 (Decision on request of a court of another jurisdiction):

On request of the United States Supreme Court, a United States Court of Appeals, or the court of last resort of any state, territory, or commonwealth, the Supreme Court may decide a question of California law if:
(1)The decision could determine the outcome of a matter pending in the requesting court; and
(2)There is no controlling precedent.

Some time ago, the attorneys at  Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP starting tracking these types of questions as presented to the California Supreme Court by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

As we’ve mentioned before (here and here), our ALR students write annotations on California Supreme Court cases that appear on the SCOCAL site.  Our students regularly contact the attorneys in the cases to acquire briefs for posting on SCOCAL alongside their annotations.  This past quarter, one of our students reached out to the the attorneys at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.  Lucky for us, the attorneys there knew about our site and asked if we would be interested in posting and hosting their terrific resource listing the questions presented to the California Supreme Court.    We, of course, said yes.  Our students have now annotated sixteen of the cases on the list, and we hope to add more this year.

Please take a look and spread the word.

Special thanks, as always, to the amazing crew at Justia for everything they do to support the SCOCAL project as it evolves and grows.

New Web Resource: SCOCAL: The Supreme Court of California, Annotated

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Supreme Court of California website, SCOCAL (http://scocal.stanford.edu).

SCOCAL is a joint project between the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School, and  Justia, Inc.

The site provides free access to the full text California Supreme Court opinions from 1934 to the present, along with detailed annotations of selected cases written and edited by students in our Advanced Legal Research class here at Stanford.  For selected cases related California Supreme Court briefs, other documents and news items are also available, all free of charge. Users may subscribe to separate RSS feeds of new opinions, annotations, Court news and follow the site on Twitter.

Special thanks to FastCase for providing a large number of the California Supreme Court opinions available on the site.

Law libraries as innovation centers

Harvard Law Library director John Palfrey is quoted in this story from today’s Boston Globe:

Boston Globe, Monday, May 24, 2010

Home / News / Education  

Harvard’s paper cuts
School library works to maintain stature in the shift to digitalBy Tracy Jan

The thin, tattered book, an 1899 dissertation on Homer, written in French, is tucked into one of the more than 40 shelves devoted to the epic poet in the stacks of Widener Library. Collecting obscure works like this one has helped Harvard amass the world’s largest university library…”Libraries have to think of themselves as innovation centers, and not just repeat what we have done in the past, “said Harvard Law professor John Palfrey, who is a leading a project to shape the future of the school’s libraries.

. . .

Palfrey has added engineers, statisticians, and graphic designers to the law school library staff. His team is working on a Web application that browses a virtual bookshelf with works stacked against one another to re-create the experience of wandering through musty stacks and serendipitously stumbling upon titles.

The library is also planning to build a virtual reference desk, where students who rarely seek the help of librarians can solicit research advice without having to set foot in a library. Librarians would assist students through e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and Skype.

. . .

And Harvard Law School is in discussions with other law schools about having each school collect in specialized areas.

. . .

Keeping up with the federal courts with CourtListener

The CourtListener.com

From the website:

The goal of the site is to create a free and competitive real time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system.

At present, the site has daily information regarding all precedential opinions issued by the 13 federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court of the United States. Each day, we also have the non-precedential opinions from all of the Circuit courts except the D.C. Circuit. This means that by 5:10pm PST, the database will be updated with the opinions of the day, with custom alerts going out shortly thereafter.

This [open source] site was created by Michael Lissner as part of a masters thesis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information.

Volunteers Log Off As Wikipedia Ages

“As rules for editing the online encyclopedia proliferate, volunteers have been departing Wikipedia faster than new ones have been joining,” according to a front-page story in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Volunteers Log Off As Wikipedia Ages,” by Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler.

Bloomberglaw.com’s “Fantastic” Feature

Perhaps it was fitting that on the day the Dow surged past 9,000 Bloomberg pitchman Ken Sanchez gave a presentation here at Stanford on the Bloomberglaw.com pilot program, set to launch on August 13th.  Mr. Sanchez is as dynamic, energetic  and entertaining a vendor representative as I have ever seen.  The presentation he gave yesterday to librarians and law school researchers elicited some true “wows” from the audience.

In particular a law school senior analyst said “Fantastic!” when Mr. Sanchez demonstrated the Active Workspace and Notepad features.  I see many uses for these features in the curriculum as well, especially for the subject areas covered by the Bloomberglaw.com pilot:  Appellate Practice, Bankruptcy, Federal Securities, and New York Law.

The Active Workspace is a collaboration space, and the law school curriculum these days is all about collaboration.  It moves Bloomberglaw.com from being “just” a research tool, to a classroom technology tool.  And there are uses for collaboration beyond the classroom — clinics, journals, projects, and more.    When Mr. Sanchez pulled up a case in Bloomberglaw.com, he activated a Notepad feature where a yellow “pad” popped up next to the case for the user to take notes; these notes can then be saved to the Workspace. Anyone, even non Bloomberglaw users, may have access to the Active Workspace content.  Documents from Bloomberglaw.com can be annotated and mixed with uploaded files from anywhere, and the entire Workspace effort can be shared with anyone. 

I agree with our analyst:  Fantastic!

The pilot is set to roll out on August 13, and run until the end of the calendar year.  The aim is for Bloomberglaw.com to then fully launch in January 2010.  This is impressive for a project that began only in September 2008.