December 15, 2011

A New Website To Search Supreme Court Decisions

Faculty at Michigan State University Law School and Emory University School of Law announce a new website, LegalLanguageExplorer (in beta test). Julie Seaman, a faculty member at Emory, urges people to try out the site.

Check it out and please feel free to share with others including blogs, etc. We would love to get some web-traffic so we can identify bugs, etc. and make the site better for everyone.

Feel free to play around with the site - have your students try it out - it is tons of fun!

For Free, we offer you the chance to search the history of the United States Supreme Court (1791-2005) for ANY PHRASE and get a frequency plot and the full text case results for that phrase. Additional corpora such as US Ct. of Appeals Coming Very Soon!

We are just getting started here with this project and anticipate many features that will be rolling out to you in the near future. We have announced it to world - so please feel free to share it with others.

In addition, as we are still in Beta Pre-Release -- please feel free to send us your feedback / comments on the site. Subject to resource and feasibility limitations, we are looking to make improvements to the site as we go.

SCOPE OF COVERAGE: In the current version, we are offering FULL TEXT results for EVERY decision of the United States Supreme Court (1791-2005). We plan to soon expand to other corpora including the U.S. Court of Appeals, etc.


Instant Return of a Time Series Plot for One or More Comma Separated Phrases.

When you access the site, the default search is currently interstate commerce, railroad, deed (with plots for each of the term displayed simultaneously).

Feel free to test out ANY phrase of Up to Four Words in length.

Here are just a few of our favorites:

Habeas Corpus

Clear and Present Danger

Custodial Interrogation

Due Process






Each of the Phrases you search will be highlighted in Blue. If you click on these highlighted phrases you will be taken to the full list of United States Supreme Court decisions that employ the selected phrase.

Click to export the list to Excel or Click on an individual case and you will be able to access this case for free thanks to Carl Malamud at Public (a Google Sponsored Public Interest Non Profit).


Check out the advanced features including normalization (controlling for docket size) and alternative graphing tools.

Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J. Bommarito II, Julie Seaman, Adam Candeub & Eugene Agichtein, Legal N-Grams? A Simple Approach to Track the ‘Evolution’ of Legal Language in Proceedings of Jurix: The 24th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (Vienna 2011) available at


Go Here and You Will Be Directed to a Brief Slide Based Tutorial Designed to Highlight Various Functions Available on the Site.

Again, I hope you enjoy the site. Please feel free to send along any feedback. This is just phase one - there are lots more really cool features to come.

Others involved in creating the site are Daniel Martin Katz (MSU), Adam Candeub (MSU), Eugene Agichtein (Emory), and Michael J. Bommarito.

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