US Supreme Court decisions plus something.
By Erik J. Heels
First published 1/4/1999; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company
The name of this – site usscplus.com (http://www.usscplus.com/) – gives a clear impression of what we might find here. US Supreme Court decisions plus something. The home page also states that it is “The best source for U.S. Supreme Court research on the web!” OK, so now we’re cooking. But for a site that professes to about one thing, there is certainly a lot of clutter on the home page that makes is extremely difficult to figure out what service InfoSynthesis, Inc. provides, what it costs (if anything), and how to get it.
Fortunately, we’re the (more or less) patient type.
If you click on “current term,” you get a tables-based page listing the dozen decisions rendered this term, and you can download them in ASCII of Adobe Acrobat PDF format. We found the PDF version of these slip opinions much easier to read than the ASCII versions.
If you click on “OnLine,” you find HTML-based versions of USSC cases. It appears that the Court’s current term decisions are not in this database. You can search by citation, parties, docket, or word/phrase. The is one of two search interfaces that exist. The better of the two is the Ecase interface, which presents the various options all on one page. If you’re looking for a specific case, start your search with Ecase.
The interface is quite nice. This is not just plain old HTML. Case names are listed in red italics, links are shows as green arrows. The interface, intuitive and easy to use, is similar to Folio or Lexis. PDF version of these cases can be purchased for $6.95 online. Over 8000 cases are online. CD-ROMs are also available for purchase.
This is an excellent example of a site that legal researchers will come back to again and again. If all they need is a quick cite, they can browse the HTML versions. But if they need the entire case, you can’t beat the readability of the PDF-formatted decisions.