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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google adds legal precedents search to Google Scholar.

Google now offers searchers a way to locate legal opinions and precedents using the Google Scholar search. It has struck me in the past just how non-legalese crucial legal opinions can be; and this provides an opportunity for not just researchers and students, but for the everyday public to gain insights on issues that have been pivotal in the shaping of common laws. in the United States, for now. Google makes no mention of if or when this facility will be expanded to cover common law jurisdictions in other countries.
Starting today, we're enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar. You can find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey), or by topics (like desegregation) or other queries that you are interested in. For example, go to Google Scholar, click on the 'Legal opinions and journals' radio button, and try the query separate but equal. Your search results will include links to cases familiar to many of us in the U.S. such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, which explore the acceptablity of 'separate but equal' facilities for citizens at two different points in the history of the U.S. But your results will also include opinions from cases that you might be less familiar with, but which have played an important role.
We think this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all. 

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