As you know, Google’s ultimate goal is to organize the world’s information. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that Google is organizing full-text legal opinions from United States federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. The company is using its Google Scholar service to do so.
“As many of us recall from our civics lessons in school, the United States is a common law country,” says Google Distinguished Engineer Anurag Acharya. “That means when judges issue opinions in legal cases, they often establish precedents that will guide the rulings of other judges in similar cases and jurisdictions. Over time, these legal opinions build, refine and clarify the laws that govern our land. For average citizens, however, it can be difficult to find or even read these landmark opinions. We think that’s a problem: Laws that you don’t know about, you can’t follow — or make effective arguments to change.”
You can now search Google Scholar to find opinions by searching specific cases (like Plessy v. Ferguson) or topics (like desegregation). You can type a phrase like “separate but equal” and get results for cases in which such a phrase is in included.