What to do about non-linked legal cites? Read, and despair no more!

LII Citer

From the RIPS Blog & Jason Soward with a Hat tip to Jennifer Greig at Elon Law for this information!

Imagine reading a document on the web that cites a statute and you would like to read that statute, but it’s not hyperlinked. Yes, you could copy and paste (or even write down with an actual pen and paper) the citation, then plug it into your online legal research system of choice, and then read it there. But what if there were a simpler way? Well, there is!

Thanks to the amazing people at Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, there is a new tool for helping you link to law online when the law you wish to see is not already hyperlinked, and it’s called LII Citer Here’s how it works. First, you need to add the LII Citer to your Favorites (it works for IE and Firefox (and other browsers)).

Second, highlight the citation of a law you’d like to read, and then access the LII Citer from your
favorites. You will then be taken to the text of that law wherever it may exist on the Internet. And, at least for US Supreme Court cases I tested, it gives you options of where it will retrieve the case.

Currently, LII Citer scans for the following citations types:

  • U.S. Code, e.g. 12 U.S.C. 1749bbb-10c, or 7 U.S.C. 136a(c)(3), which links to the paragraph level, using the LII internal USC resolver.
  • United States Supreme Court, e.g. 457 U.S. 800, using the LII resolver that tries to find an LII-local copy, and failing that, gives the user the option of choosing another source.
  • Federal Circuit Court System, e.g. 875 F.2d 1059, “resolved” by constructing a direct link to the resource.org data set as hosted by lawlibrary.rutgers.edu
  • Code of Federal Regulations, e.g. 40 C.F.R. Part 164 Subpart D, tries to resolve section references with the get-cfr.cgi file at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov; if no section number is cited, then a resolver at ecfr.gpoaccess.gov is used.
  • US Statutes at Large, e.g. 118 Stat. 919, resolution currently very speculative, using get-cfr.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov
  • US Public Law, e.g. Pub. L. 110-116, fairly stable, using get-cfr.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov
  • Federal Register, e.g. 72 Fed. Reg. 37771, uses the getpage.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov

It really is worthwhile to experiment with the samples they’ve set up on their site. This is an ongoing project, with new features and wider scope in the works.

Happy weekend everyone!

Posted by Jason Sowards