Legal Research Blog
There has been a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States since the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016. This past week saw the nomination of Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. With this nomination, there has been an upsurge of interest in the prior opinions of Judge Gorsuch. These decisions can easily be found on Fastcase.
One benefit of a full text database like Fastcase is that every portion of the text can be searched. This includes footnotes, headnotes, and basic party information about the case. To search for Judge Gorsuch, it is as easy as searching for both his first name and last name: Neil AND Gorsuch
When you run the search, Fastcase’s search algorithms will look for both search terms in the entire document and display the results.
You can also sort your search results by date by clicking on “Decision date” in the upper right hand corner.
The past weekend has seen many lawyers take a sudden and intense interest in immigration law. We here at Fastcase are happy to help!
Below is a list of public links to documents you may find useful in researching the recent travel ban, as well as a brief demonstration of how you might go about finding and sharing one of those documents on Fastcase.
As a reminder, members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association can access Fastcase for free through their AILA membership by going HERE, or by logging in to AILALink HERE. The AILA website also has a number of other publicly available resources that might be helpful, such as the full text of the executive order itself.
Another great place to look is the UB Law Library’s recent blog post, which has a number of other resources related to the ban, including news and academic articles on the subject.
Nothing beats primary law, though, so here’s a list of black-letter cases and statutes that might help.
The 9th Circuit refused to grant a stay of the District Court’s order (immediately below). The order therefore remains effective, continuing to prevent enforcement of the ban nationwide.
This order temporarily restrains all Federal officials from enforcing several key sections of the travel ban – effectively permitting travel to resume largely as normal. The order applies nationwide.
This order temporarily prohibits the United States government from removing any person with a valid visa, any person awarded refugee status, or any lawful permanent residents of the United States.
This order temporarily blocks the United States government from sending people out of the country once they have landed in the country with valid visas, or if they arrive as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
This order temporarily prohibits the United States government from removing the two unnamed plaintiffs, pending Habeas review.
This order temporarily requires the United States Government to permit lawyers access to any permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport, and temporarily forbids the United States government from removing those residents.
(a)(13)(C) – “An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States shall not be regarded as seeking an admission into the United States…”
(a)(1)(A) – “…no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
Summary judgement in favor of a former State Department officer. Officer claimed he was unlawfully terminated because he refused to follow an agency practice of discriminating on the basis of visa applicants’ race, ethnicity, and national origin.
Overturning a policy requiring immigrants from Vietnam to comply with onerous procedural requirements not imposed on immigrants from other nations.
The District Court has federal-question jurisdiction to hear respondents’ constitutional and statutory challenges to INS procedures.
District courts retain jurisdiction to confirm whether or not the procedures specified by INS are actually followed.
While the executive branch does have discretion over how to resolve a visa application, it does not have discretion over whether to process that application. Visa applications must be processed in a timely manner.
How to Find the Cases and Orders
These are very easy to find! Just enter the party names into the Quick Caselaw Search bar that appears when you first log in to Fastcase.
Statutes can sometimes be a bit harder to find, especially if you know the subject or the original name of the Act, but don’t know where it’s codified. Thankfully you can easily browse by subject on Fastcase, using the “Browse” button on the Statute Search page. If you’re using Fastcase 7, the method is a little bit different, and you can read about it HERE.
How to Share a Document
Finding a useful immigration case or statute is no good to anyone unless you can show it to someone else. We want to make it easier for people to get access to the law, so every one of our primary law documents has a Public Link. To share a link to a document on Fastcase, just right click on the Public Link in the top-right, and click “copy link”, then paste it into your Facebook post to show all your lawyer friends the on-point case you found!
There you have it! Next time you find yourself becoming an impromptu immigration attorney at the airport, you’ll be prepared!
Below please see your current access level through the Alameda County Bar Association (left) versus the plan you can access by paying the $195/year upgrade cost (right).
Alameda County Bar Association Upgrade
|Subscription Fees||Free||$995 / yr
$195 / yr
|U.S. Supreme Court Decisions (1 U.S. 1 to Present)||Yes||Yes|
|U.S. Courts of Appeals Decisions (1 F.2d 1 to Present)||9th Circuit Only||Yes|
|U.S. District Court Decisions (1 F. Supp. 1 to Present)||Yes|
|U.S. Bankruptcy Court Decisions (1 B.R. 1 to Present)||Yes||Yes|
|State Supreme and Appellate Courts (1950** to Present)||California courts only||Yes|
|Nationwide Statutes and Regulations||California only||Yes|
|Visualize Search Results with Timeline View||Yes||Yes|
|Dual-Column & Batch Printing||Yes||Yes|
Searches are a great way to find materials with specific words or phrases, but when you’re just starting to investigate a new subject, sometimes the fastest way to find the controlling statute or rule is to browse through the library, rather than searching it. Using Browse Libraries on Fastcase, you can see the “table of contents view” of the entire code and easily toggle back and forth between different individual statutes or rules. Browsing lets you see the code organized by subject, rather than by key word.
If you wanted to browse the D.C. Code to find 12-301 (the statute of limitations), you would follow these steps:
Step One: Go to the Advanced Search page.
Step Two: Click on Browse Libraries in the lower-right corner under Other Resources.
Step Three: A list of libraries will appear. Select Statutes and Codes, then District of Columbia from the list of statutes and jurisdictions by clicking on the yellow folder icons next to them. This will bring you to an expandable outline of the D.C. Code. Choose which edition of the D.C. Code you want to search by clicking on the orange plus sign next to the applicable edition.
Step Four: Initially, you will see a list of the DC Code Divisions. Click on the yellow folder next to each Division to view the Titles in that Division. Then click on the yellow folder next to Title to view each Chapter in that Title, and so on.
Scroll down and expand Division II Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
Then scroll down and expand Title 12 Right to Remedy.
Finally, scroll down a bit further and expand Chapter 3 Limitations of Actions, then click on 12-301 Limitation of time for bringing actions.
Step Five: The statute text will open up in a new pane on the right while the outline of the code remains in the pane on the left. You can jump to other sections of the Code by selecting them in the left-hand pane, or just skip to the next or previous section by using the arrow buttons to either side of the word DOCS above the statute text.
Step Six: Now that you’ve found the right statute, you can bookmark it in your browser or save it to your favorite documents on Fastcase, or just write down the citation so you can search for it later.
It’s Election Day, and there are a lot of tight races out there! As America heads to the polls, people on both sides of the aisle are wondering what happens if a result gets contested. Does your jurisdiction have automatic recounts? What’s the threshold? Can one side demand a recount? Here’s how you can find out on Fastcase 7:
Open up Fastcase 7, and enter the following terms into the search bar: election* /5 recount*
Then click Go to return every document we have that mentions the words election and recount close together.
That initial search will pull up over 3,000 documents, most of which won’t be relevant in your jurisdiction. Thankfully, unlike election results, you can filter your Fastcase search results to only those you want to see. To focus down on just the relevant results, use the Filters pane on the left-hand side of your screen.
For example, let’s say we’re worried about another kerfuffle in Florida. Scroll down to Jurisdiction and select FL, and then click Apply Filters to narrow down your results.
Now you’ve got a list of all the cases, statutes and regulations in Florida that talk about election recounts. You can either review the list in order by relevance or date, or if you want to quickly get an idea of the important cases, expand the Interactive Timeline pane to see them laid out visually by time and importance.
Notice that Fastcase Forecite keeps you apprised of important cases, even if you’ve filtered them out. We may have limited our results to Florida state cases, but no discussion of Florida election law could be complete without a mention of Bush v. Gore.
Good luck at the polls today and as always, Happy Searching!
-The Fastcase Team