An ambitious Web site launched today, Courthouse Forum, aims to be a one-stop shop in which to monitor, discuss and evaluate all of the nationÂ?s federal and state courts and judges. The site is built around a complex structure of separate forums for each jurisdiction and venue in the United States. The site’s founders intend that attorneys, judges, litigants and the public will use these forums to post candid comments, information and opinions about the nation’s courts, judges, judicial nominees and cases.
The site’s forums allow users to post messages either in standard message-board format or in blog format, meaning that users can actually create their own blogs using this site. (Users can choose the area of the forum in which to create a blog. Blogs are also listed in a master directory.) Either way, users are encouraged to post messages about legal news and events, as well as about particular judges and courts. Users may post comments anonymously. The site includes a multi-forum feature that allows users to post a topic or blog in multiple locations.
So far, the site houses more than 500,000 forum categories. Eventually, it will include more than 650,000. There are forums for every court and judge in the federal judiciary, as well as forums for federal judicial nominees (here is the forum for John Roberts) and federal appellate court opinions. There are forums for every state appellate court and state appellate judge, and forums for state appellate court opinions. There are forums for virtually every venue, trial court and trial judge in 26 states and the District of Columbia, with plans to add the remaining states over the coming months.
With the site having just launched, most forums have few or no posts. This makes it difficult to evaluate the site. But the idea behind it is ambitious and it will be interesting to watch how it develops.