The Supreme Court – you know, the one in Washington – gets plenty of attention from legal bloggers. But all those other supreme courts – you know, the ones in the states and territories – also get extensively covered on legal blogs. A blog such as SCOTUSblog, focused on the U.S. Supreme Court, often draws national attention. But the blogs covering state supreme courts also warrant recognition.
Take, for example, Illinois Supreme Court Review, a Horvitz & Levy blog about appellate decision making. Over an ambitious series of posts in recent weeks, the blog has presented an in-depth analysis of trends in how the Illinois Supreme Court has decided certain types of cases since 1990. Separate posts have covered cases involving property crimes, arbitration, sexual offenses, employment, attorney discipline, tax, workers’ compensation, juvenile justice, domestic relations and more. A similar analysis was presented at the firm’s sibling blog California Supreme Court Review.
A different sort of retrospective was presented this week by Wisconsin Appellate Law, a Foley & Lardner blog devoted to tracking the state’s appellate courts. This week, shortly after the Wisconsin Supreme Court started its 2018-19 term, the blog published an overview of the court’s prior term, compiling statistics on the cases the court decided, how it decided them, which judges wrote them, and how they voted.
But that’s not all. The blog went on, in a second post this week, to analyze how the Wisconsin Supreme Court was able to accelerate its pace of releasing opinions. The likely explanation, the blog concludes, is a new procedure for drafting opinions that the court adopted in 2014 – to considerable criticism at the time. “Whatever the merits of the new opinion drafting procedure, the court’s new diligence is most welcome,” concludes the blog.
While retrospectives such as those are interesting, blogs sometimes also look prospectively at what’s coming on a court’s agenda. That is what On Brief, an Iowa appellate blog published by Nyemaster Goode, does when it publishes summaries of upcoming arguments in the Iowa Supreme Court and through its feature Cases in the Pipeline, where it tracks cases currently on the court’s docket and those coming up for review.
For lawyers, what matters most about their supreme court are the decisions the court hands down. In many jurisdictions, there is no better source for tracking the supreme court than legal blogs.
A blog that excels at this is Notice of Appeal, an appellate law blog published by Stoel Rives. It provides regular updates on significant decisions from courts of appeal in three states: Idaho, Oregon and Washington. It sometimes reports on cases the day they come out and typically within a few days of their release.
These are but a few examples of the blogs that cover state supreme courts. Among the network of blogs on LexBlog.com are several others. For lawyers who need to keep up with a state’s appellate rulings, blogs are a supreme resource.
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