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This is great news. A few months ago, the news broke that Jerry Goldman, who ran the Oyez Project, was looking to retire and cash in his site for upwards of $1 million. I was afraid that some for-profit publisher like WestLaw of LexisNexis was going to scoop it up. But now it seems that there’s a new deal between Oyez, Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII) and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, to keep Oyez alive and freely accessible. Public domain crisis averted!
After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.
The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive.
“It’s a perfect match,” said Goldman, 71. “They will be great stewards.”
Launched in 1993, Oyez.org boasts nearly 9 million visits annually, ranging from students doing term papers to Supreme Court practitioners rehearsing upcoming arguments.
The Supreme Court has taped oral arguments for the last 60 years and deposited them with the National Archives. Oyez makes the audio available on its website with additional information, including searchable transcripts that are synchronized to the audio.
That makes it easy to hear the moment during arguments in the 2003 affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger when then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist addressed advocate Maureen Mahoney—a former law clerk of his—by her first name. Or, more recently, the time on March 27, 2012, when the late Justice Antonin Scalia compared the coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act to an order that the public buy broccoli.
Thanks Washington Monthly for the preview of the Supreme Court’s 2012-13 docket, which starts October 1, 2012. “With half the term’s cases scheduled, here are some of the big cases that are already on the docket, and a few the Court court take up later.” Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII) also has a good preview of the upcoming term. and the incomparable @scotusblog pointed us to a good WaPo review of the court’s upcoming docket, “Supreme Court faces another high-profile term.” The cases can be searched in the Supreme Court’s docket database as well as on their monthly calendar.
October 10, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
Revisiting affirmative action in higher education, a decade after Sandra Day O’Connor’s fifth vote upheld it in Grutter v. Bollinger. The conventional wisdom says that the Court, with Alito sitting in O’Connor’s seat, rules the practice unconstitutional.
October 3, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum
Fascinating case in which Royal Dutch and its Shell subidiaries (the American companies) are accused of helping the Nigerian government torture a dozen and kill Nigerians protesting against the companies’ oil exploration. What’s being decided is whether a US court can effectively rule on human rights violations a domestic company has committed abroad.
October 9, Tibbals v. Carter; Ryan v. Gonzalez
Both of these cases deal with a state’s responsibility to halt the appellate review of capital punishment cases while a defendant is mentally ill. For now, this is the only case on the court’s docket that deals with the death penalty.
October 29, Clapper v. Amnesty International
The Court reviews the United State’s ability to wiretap Americans when they’re abroad. In 2008, Congress expanded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which previously regulated only domestic surveillance. Since then, we’ve been able to spy on our own wherever they go.
October 31, Florida v. Jardines; Florida v. Harris
The Court decides whether it violates the Fourth Amendment provision against illegal searches for a trained narcotics dog to sniff around a house or car for drugs without a warrant. Dogs in question are Franky and Aldo, respectively.
Potential SCOTUS cases (Should the Court take them up)
Several Defense of Marriage Act cases are working there way through the courts, most notably the May Massachusetts federal court decision that struck down the law. A lower court in California has also struck down Prop 8, the state’s ban on gay marriage, so that case could get heard too.
Voting Rights Act
Several states (Texas, South Carolina, Florida) have recently had voting laws struck down by the Department of Justice, thanks to the provision of the Voting Rights Act that mandates many of the ex-Confederate states have their voting laws “pre-cleared” by the federal government. If the Court decides to take up any of the resulting state challenges to the VRA, it could rule pre-clearance unconstitutional. Sidenote: I’d argue that pre-clearance isn’t broad enough. Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and other northern states that don’t require pre-clearance have passed Voter ID laws no problem. Welcome to the era of Jim Crow North.