/ May 10, 2011

The Baseball Card that Changed The Sound of the Supreme Court

This week we hosted Jerry Goldman, founder of the Oyez Project, for a coffee talk at Fastcase DC headquarters. Today, Oyez is the comprehensive home for everything Supreme Court: audio and transcripts of oral arguments, summaries, briefs, Justice bios.  Oyez has grown a lot recently, with a move to Chicago Kent College of Law, and especially with new mobile apps Pocket Justice and OyezToday.

Photo credit: Nicholas Moline of Justia

And the whole thing sprang from a Cubs game and a baseball card.

Jerry was watching a Cubs game one day (the Cubs were losing badly, as Jerry remembers), wondering how he could marry his love of the law and his love of baseball.  And then it came to him: the statistics on the back of a baseball card could be just as interesting for Supreme Court Justices.

Oyez began in the late 1980s as the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court,” with baseball cards for Supreme Court Justices, including their “stats.”  And in the process, Jerry discovered that he could link audio on the stat sheet.  In fact, there was a huge trove of unused Supreme Court audio.  So the Hitchhiker’s guide was transformed into a comprehensive source of Supreme Court audio, and the rest, as they say, is history. From audio recordings and transcripts of oral arguments, to full synopses of cases and Justice biographies, Oyez.org provides appellate litigators and the public alike with a terrific inside look at the High Court.

Jerry also knows us, so he brought gadgets.  He brought out the iPad 2 to show off Oyez mobile apps – PocketJustice and OyezToday.  PocketJustice features constitutional decisions, with audio and written transcripts, as well as Justice bios. Just this spring, the Oyez Project launched its second mobile app, OyezToday, with deeper background on the cases of the most recent term.  He also previewed some sweet new clipping and sharing features that we’re really excited about for a forthcoming release – but you’ll have to wait for Oyez to announce those.  Oh, and did we mention, OyezToday is free?  Download for your iPhone or iPad here.

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