Project Posner

project-posner.jpgProfessor Tim Wu (law, Columbia) has created Project Posner, a searchable database of over 2100 judicial opinions by Judge Richard Posner. Here’s the website description:

The purpose of this site is to make freely and easily available to the public Richard Posner’s largest and greatest body of work — his judicial opinions. The database contains opinions from 1981 to 2006. It will not contain the most recent opinions.

Why this site? While Posner’s books and popular writings are easily available to the public, his opinions are difficult or expensive for the public to access, let alone search. This site, for the first time, collects almost all of his opinions in a single searchable and easily readable database.

For lawyers and those interested in law, Posner’s opinions have a particular substantive value. One thing that distinguishes the opinions is the effort to try and get at why a given law actually exists, and an effort to try and make sense of the law. That can make them more useful than most case reports.

In addition, the opinions often develop the American general and state common law. Posner is among the judges who feels free to take the rule of Erie as more suggestion than injunction.

Finally, some of the opinions are funny.

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4 Responses

  1. Simon says:

    With the exception of the subject judge, this is actually quite similar, conceptually, to the project I’ve been working on for about a year off-and-on, Ninoville.

  2. Scott Moss says:

    I’m an unabashed Posner fan — but how is this different from doing the appropriate Westlaw search for Posner opinions with a certain term in them?

    (This is a genuine question, not a rhetorical one: I’m horribly slow to undertsand the utility of a new technology or web-based service….)

  3. Patrick S. O'Donnell says:

    Well, blokes like me, without access to Westlaw, will be able to use this site.

  4. Aviva Cuyler says:

    What a great idea! The general public should have free and easy access to these decisions.