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.

Big News – Oregon

From Tim Stanley’s Justia blog:

“Oregon’s Legislative Counsel Committee had a meeting this morning to discuss the copyright claim on the Oregon Revised Statutes. After taking legal counsel from Dexter Johnson, talking with Karl Olson, Carl Malamud, three Oregon citizens and myself, they unanimously voted to not to enforce any copyright claims on the Oregon Revised Statutes. This great!!!”

And, I just read this on BoingBoing:

“Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

“Justia and Public.Resource.Org were invited, along with Karl Olson our counsel, to testify before the Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee. We were joined by a public panel of wikipedians and open source advocates.”

“The process was incredibly well organized. There was a comprehensive briefing packet prepared for the committee, the members asked lots of intelligent questions, and then Dexter Johnson the Legislative Counsel recommended to the committee that they waive assertion of copyright on their statutes. The Majority Leader placed the motion, the President of the Senate called the vote, and the vote was unanimous. This was democracy in action and was great to watch.”

Oregon – Hot Topic

We are pleased to announce the AALL Hot Topic for the annual meeting in Portland, Oregon will be Push Back and Push Forward – Open Access in Oregon and Beyond.  So mark your calendars: Sunday, July 13th at 4:15pm.

The program will feature Carl Malamud (public.resource.org) and Tim Stanley (Justia.com).

Recently, the State of Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee sent Justia a notice of copyright infringement and demand to cease and desist online publication of the Revised Statutes online.  Carl Malamud and Tim Stanley will share the story of this struggle to keep the laws of Oregon freely available.

But what about the rest of the country?  Can state governments prohibit others from downloading, reproducing or distributing their laws? Can courts provide similar restrictions by the nature of their vendor dealings (they do in California!)?  Carl Malamud and Tim Stanley will address these questions, too, sharing their concerns and experiences in this area.

This session will provide both an update on a timely issue, and serve as a call to action on how each of us can get involved in the open access movement.

And, on the topic of Oregon, Peter Forsyth has an interesting post on the WikiProject Oregon site.  I pasted it below for further reading and perhaps an inspiration for getting involved.

From WikiProject Oregon, posted by Peter Forsyth:

This Thursday, the Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee (LCC) will be holding a hearing that should be of major interest to anyone with an interest in Oregon law, and in building (or using) public resources on the Internet. The topic: whether or not the laws that we, the people of Oregon write are in the public domain, or whether the State can prevent their republication by insisting on licensing arrangements.

A couple months back, the LCC — which provides legal advice to the state legislature, and edits draft legislation — issued a takedown notice to justia.com, which was hosting the Oregon Revised Statutes. Justia is a web site that publishes state laws (free of charge, and without advertising) from all states, in a standard format.

Legislative Counsel Dexter Johnson issued the takedown notice under direction from the LCC, and cited a 1953 law that gives it authority to make determinations about ownership of various works of the Legislature. He wrote that although the words of the laws themselves are in the public domain, some of the text involved in their publication — the section numbers, descriptive text, etc. — is owned by the State, and protected by copyright.

California-based nonprofit public.resource.org has been the leading advocate for getting this policy changed. They have retained counsel to challenge the policy. Their research indicates both that there aren’t solid legal grounds for this policy, and that it is contrary to the public interest.

The LCC has invited Public.resource.org to give testimony at their next public meeting, but there is no formal representation for Oregon’s community of wiki editors, bloggers, etc.

I expect to testify at the hearing, and would welcome the company of any other Oregon folks. Let me know if you want to come! Additionally, I’d encourage you all to write your legislators (find out who they are here), and the members of the LCC. I’ll try to work up a standard letter in the next day or two, so you don’t have to compose from scratch; watch this post for further news.