View Full Version : Proposed Sticky - Legal Education Resources

10-27-2013, 2:24 PM
Reading the posts in this forum since joining a little while ago it became more than obvious that there are more than a few zealous posters who pontificate on the law having themselves never studied law or even knowing how to look-up, let alone cite, a case in support of their personal opinions.

And so I propose making this thread a "Sticky" and a resource for those who would like to educate themselves in the hope of one day having an informed legal discussion.

I'll start with a couple of the basics:

1) There are a couple of particularly important links at the US Supreme Court website:
a) "Opinions" which contain various links to opinions from the court -> http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspx and
b) "Bound Volumes" which contain the full text of Supreme Court decisions going back to 1991 -> http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/boundvolumes.aspx

2) Published and unpublished decisions of the California Courts of Appeal including the California Supreme Court going back to 1850 are here -> http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions.htm The "searchable reports" are via a free LexisNexis access thereby saving one from several thousand dollars in subscriptions or a trip to the nearest law library.

3) A century of state court decisions on self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms is available at GunCite -> http://www.guncite.com/court/state/

4) Google Books has a free, searchable on-line site which contains scans of many legal books published before 1923 and snippets of more current books -> http://books.google.com/

a) For example, one of the books is "The general laws of the State of California, from 1850 to 1864, inclusive..." A search of the term "concealed weapons" reveals that on February 14, 1870 the legislature repealed it's blanket ban on the possession of concealed weapons that was enacted in 1863 (the ban exempted only travelers while on a journey and did not provide for permits).

5) Google Scholar is the poor man's WestLaw but an otherwise excellent free database of state and Federal court decisions -> http://scholar.google.com/

6) Essential reference books:
a) "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts" by US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -> http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Law-Interpretation-Legal-Texts/dp/031427555X/
b) "Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges" by US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -> http://www.amazon.com/Making-Your-Case-Persuading-Judges/dp/0314184716/
c) "A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law" by US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -> http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Interpretation-Federal-Courts-University/dp/0691004005/

7) FindLaw - a free database of case law from the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, as well as several state supreme courts -> http://lp.findlaw.com/

8) Justia - offers cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and U.S. District Courts, also free -> http://law.justia.com/cases/

9) The Public Library of Law - requires registration to see the full text of decisions, otherwise its free -> http://www.plol.org/Pages/Search.aspx

10) Stanford Law School online -> http://scocal.stanford.edu/opinions

11) LEAGLE - free online database of caselaw -> http://leagle.com/

12) OpenJurist - a bit top heavy with adds but otherwise free -> http://openjurist.org/

13) Definition and examples of legal citations from UCLA School of Law -> http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/citations

10-27-2013, 6:30 PM
I like it.

For those of us not already on the path of a legal carrier reading legal docs is not trivial. Some are far worse than others, fortunately we enthusiasts really WANT to understand so we're willing to jump into the deep end.

I've only been on this topic for a year. Its been a serious slog, but one I'm very happy I've undertaken, and almost all of my learning has been at the hands of posters here on this board, linking to SCOTUS opinions/descents and I am deeply grateful.

And since I'm already quite partial to the writings of Hon. Scalia and Thomas, I think I'll order me up those last three links posted above, thanks ToldYouSo!

Anonymous Coward
10-28-2013, 5:59 AM
Good info! Could it be reworded to be less condescending?

10-28-2013, 6:29 AM
Good info! Could it be reworded to be less condescending?

No. (It could be, but it won't.)

Besides, only those who have studied the law, know how to look up cases and perhaps cite case law in support of their personal opinions should be allowed to execute zealous, pontificating postings on the law.:D

And so, apparently, they do.:facepalm:



This is a good start for a solid resource, but if you're going to cite a UCLA reference, then you should also cite Wikipedia.:)

10-28-2013, 6:36 AM
Nice start to a potentially excellent resource

10-29-2013, 10:39 AM
I agree this research is sorely needed. Great work OP.

CATCH-22: those who are the worst violators and would benefit from these resources will never use them. Those that use them and are familiar with them tend to be the more informed posters on the topics at hand :whistling:

10-29-2013, 11:15 AM

Looks like toldyouso will not be teaching this class. LOL