Legal Research Blog
At Fastcase we are a bit obsessed with slick data visualizations. So it should come as no surprise that we are gaga over Jonathon Feinberg’s brilliant web app, Wordle.
This delightful app generates gorgeous “word clouds” from any text that you feed it. You can cut and paste text directly or even type in a url and let Wordle grab the text for you.
In addition to creating stunning images, Wordle is a terrific learning tool. Words used more frequently in the source text appear more prominently in it’s word clouds making key themes and words pop off the page. (And it kind of reminds us of our own Interactive Timeline).
Here are the Wordle word clouds for three landmark Supreme Court decisions which exemplify why our country is an amazing place to live : Tinker. v. Des Moines (1969), Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), and Miranda v. Arizona (1966).
Can you tell which world cloud goes with each decision?
Enjoy (and have a great weekend).
Happy Monday! We thought we would help you transition back into the work week with a picture of adorable animals.
To the far left is Fastcase President, Phil Rosenthal at the Western States Bar Conference holding Pete, the adorable nine-bandeded armadillo.
According to Wikipedia, the word armadillio is Spanish for “little armored one.”
Attention all SCOTUS watchers. Filmmaker David Van Taylor’s new documentary about Supreme Court Confirmation wars over Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and the one that got away, Harriet Miers, opens next week. You can view the trailer, below. Check your local listings for show times.
(If you are in the D.C. area, you can catch the film at E Street Cinemas starting on May 5.)
As we close out the month of April, we thought it would be fun to take a moment to reflect on a few historic Supreme Court decisions issued on April 30th of years past.
The most prominent of our selection for today is 24-year old, Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). In this historic case, the Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor cannot use preemptory challenges (no-cause dismissal of jurors) to dismiss jurors based on race.
Today is also the 31st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979). In this decision the Court raised the burden of proof required for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric facility from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing” evidence.
Unless you are an intellectual property lawyer, you may not be familiar with Microsoft v. AT&T, 550 U.S. 437 (2007), a 3-year old decision in which the Supreme Court placed restrictions on the extraterritorial reach of U.S. Patent law. In short, after Microsoft, holders of U.S. software patents face significant barriers in enforcing their U.S. patents overseas.
And here are some other historical happenings from April 30th — courtesy of HistoryOrb.com — a very cool resource:
1803 — the Louisiana purchase was agreed to in principle (it was signed on May 2).
1904 — the ice cream cone debuts at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
2004 — the U.S. media releases controversial photos from Abu Ghraib prison.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner gave one college student, Kelsey Gloston a civics lesson that she will not soon forget.
Gloston, a pre-nursing student, apparently hung up on the courthouse clerks who contacted her regarding jury duty. Big mistake.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Judge Hittner ordered federal marshals to “haul her in chains from school to court to explain why she shirked jury duty.” You can read the Chronicle’s full story here.
If you are appearing before Judge Hittner anytime soon, y’all better be on your best behavior.