Government Relations:
Articles and Links of Interest

The Government Domain: New & Free Regulations Trackers:
This article provides a nice summary of where to find federal regulation tracking online.

Check out the new U.S. Supreme Court website:

For those of us who are used to accessing uniform conveyancing blanks from the MN Commerce Department website, check out the new editable forms! They are found at, which you need to be an MSBA member to access. 4/28/10

The US District Court, District of MN has a new pro se website: Representing Yourself (Pro Se) 2/1/2010

Check out Google Scholar for case law. This is pretty slick. I tried doing an advanced search for MN cases dealing with the Indian Child Welfare Act and got unpublished and published cases (with the NW2d cite). The “Cited By” section links to cases and secondary sources (located in HeinOnline, JSTOR, Google Books, etc.). On your results list you can chose to include “at least summaries” which shows you where your terms show up in the case. I can’t quite figure out how they rank their results yet. However, the cases with no “cited by” citations fall at the end of the list. The coverage is also a bit unclear. My results contained cases ranging from 1982-2009. This is nice since the Appellate Court Archive (maintained by the State Law Library) only goes back to May of 1996. I noticed the most recent case listed was from Sept 2009. The CoA has issued at least a couple of cases that reference ICWA since then.

From Google Scholar -11/17/09

Starting today, we're enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar. You can find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey), or by topics (like desegregation) or other queries that you are interested in. For example, go to Google Scholar, click on the "Legal opinions and journals" radio button, and try the query separate but equal. Your search results will include links to cases familiar to many of us in the U.S. such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, which explore the acceptablity of "separate but equal" facilities for citizens at two different points in the history of the U.S. But your results will also include opinions from cases that you might be less familiar with, but which have played an important role.

We think this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all. To understand how an opinion has influenced other decisions, you can explore citing and related cases using the Cited by and Related articles links on search result pages. As you read an opinion, you can follow citations to the opinions to which it refers. You can also see how individual cases have been quoted or discussed in other opinions and in articles from law journals. Browse these by clicking on the "How Cited" link next to the case title. See, for example, the frequent citations for Roe v. Wade, for Miranda v. Arizona (the source of the famous Miranda warning) or for Terry v. Ohio (a case which helped to establish acceptable grounds for an investigative stop by a police officer).

Advanced search:
Info about it: 11/23/09

AZ Supreme Court finds metadata from public records is public too. Read about it on Law Librarian Blog. 11/2/09

Free Court Dockets claims to have free access to over 33 million court case dockets.

  • Nationwide U.S. District Civil Court Dockets
  • Nationwide U.S. District Criminal Court Dockets
  • Nationwide U.S. Bankruptcy Court Dockets
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Federal Court of Claims and International Court of Trade
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals (coming soon)
To access it, you have to request a code. I tried it out and it has its limitations. You must have a case number to access information—no searching by case name. In addition, it seems that you have to log into Pacer to see the actual documents filed in the case (at least with the two I tested). What you will see is the party information, judge, type of case and info about what was filed when. 8/7/09

Summary of new laws effective August 1:
See also new laws effective July 1:
Summaries of all new laws from the 2009 session: 8/4/09

FYI – article in the July issue of Law Technology News: WEB WATCH: Casemaker vs. Fastcase. In case you are not aware, all members of the MSBA have free access to Fastcase. 7/14/09

OpenRegs is a great site for seeing newly proposed and recently published federal regulations. Also provides information on the comment period for proposed regs. You can browse by agency or topic, and subscribe to an agency or topic news feed. 6/25/09

Timothy L. Coggins, Legal, Factual, and Other Internet Sites for Attorneys and Legal Professionals, 15 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 13 (2009).
From the introduction: "This listing of Internet sites for legal, factual, and other research presents a variety of sources for attorneys, law students, law librarians,and others who use the Web. Initially developed for an Advanced Legal Research course and a continuing education session for legal assistants and paralegals, the listing includes sites for primary authorities, both federal and state, as well as URLs for other types of information such as names of possible expert witnesses and biographical and background information about individuals." As seen on Law Librarian Blog. 6/19/09

New from the Obama administration – "The purpose of is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government." You can search data by category or agency, or both. The data for the initial launch is not complete, but the site encourages users to suggest additions. 5/28/09

The MN House of Representatives Research Department released an information brief entitled "Unallotment: Executive Branch Power to Reduce Spending to Avoid a Deficit." In other legislative news, Governor Pawlenty signed SF108, which makes not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense. It goes into effect June 9. 5/22/09

A searchable database of Minnesota fair hearings appeals is available from the DHS web site. The decisions go back to July 2001. "The Appeals and Regulations Division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) conducts fair hearings when applicants or recipients appeal delays in their applications or denials, reductions, suspensions or terminations of financial assistance or social services." 5/20/09

Governor Pawlenty signed SF802/HF1162 (Omnibus public safety appropriations bill). Court fees are going up. For a list of bills signed and vetoed, see the Governor's priority legislation index. 5/18/09

Interesting article in the New York Times about trying to make Congressional Research Service reports available to the public. 5/11/09

This isn’t necessarily Government Relations-related, but thought others would be interested in this online journal: Minnesota Legal History Project 4/17/09

I just discovered this new product from Versuslaw: FindACase Minnesota. It is another option for online access to free case law. 3/9/09

ABA Journal article about free Pacer site: “Free Pacer Sites Shut Down After Mass Download by Open Records Advocate.” 2/25/09

New York Times article about Pacer: “An Effort to Upgrade a Court Archive System to Free and Easy.” 2/13/09

The MN Department of Commerce web site now has Transfer on Death forms on their Uniform Conveyancing Blanks page. Go to Deeds and scroll to the bottom of the page. 1/29/09

The Sunlight Foundation has put together a timeline of federal government transparency. 1/13/09

New database to search for marriage licenses in MN. Some counties go back to the 1800s. Others have no data yet. Info on dates of coverage by county. 12/3/08

New on safety codes from every state, although not every code. 11/21/08

New report: The MN Judiciary: A Guide for Legislators. It’s a nice summary of the judicial branch in MN. 11/17/08

List of top 10 .gov sites list from Government Computer News. 9/24/08

Law Librarians’ Society of Washington D.C. has posted a list of links to federal legislative histories that are available for free on the web. At the bottom of the list you will also find links to LHs from commercial vendors (Hein, LX, WL). A subscription is required to access them. 9/19/08

New York Times article, "In Digital Age, Federal Files Blip Into Oblivion". 8/18/08

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