Supreme Court rounds up Web site
- By Bryant Jordan
- Apr 17, 2000
One more most-wanted site has caught up with the World Wide Web, as the
staid old U.S. Supreme Court goes online today.
An official Supreme Court site had been No. 2 on the Center for Democracy
and Technology's 10 Most Wanted Government Documents site. Before today,
electronic court information had been made available via subscription services,
simpler technology and unofficial sites, including extensive ones run by
Cornell University and Northwestern University.
The court appears to be centralizing information it had in other, less
widely available electronic forms, according to Peter Martin, a law professor
at Cornell and co-director of the school's Legal Information Institute.
Cornell has used raw data from the court's Project Hermes subscription
service to create a user-friendly Web site with a search engine and hyperlinks
to past court decisions.
It remains to be seen is how user-friendly the court's site will be,
The site (www.supremecourtus.gov) will link to the court's first-draft
opinions, so-called bench opinions, as they are posted on the Government
Printing Office's GPO Access site within minutes of being made. This offers
the public the same service that the court has offered via subscription
to agencies, educators, legal publishers and news agencies through Project
Hermes, which was set up 1991.
Final, or slip, versions of opinions, will be published on the court's
own Web site when they are issued, a court spokeswoman said.
The site also will feature:
* Current term orders - a listing of all cases it will hear, deny or
those now pending.
* An argument calendar.
* Bar admission forms and instructions.
* Visitors' guides.
* Case-handling guides.
* Special notices.
* Press releases.
With the new Web site up and running, the Supreme Court will phase out
a public dial-up bulletin board system it established in 1996. But it will
retain the Hermes system and an automated telephone system set up in 1997
that provides callers with updates of cases.
The court also will continue to publish its opinions in pamphlet form
and in the official United States Reports.