Jun 7, 2010

An Encyclopedia of Judges and Courts

1 Comment · Posted by Robert Ambrogi in General

You might say that Judgepedia is the Wikipedia of the judiciary. It strives to be a comprehensive encyclopedic reference about America’s courts and judges. Like Wikipedia, its users are also its editors — anyone can register and then edit any article. “By helping to edit, add information, any fix any mistakes you see, the quality and depth of the information steadily improves and grows over time,” the site explains.

As you would expect, Judgepedia has pages for virtually every federal and state court and judge. (For the U.S. territories, it has only federal courts, not territorial courts.) The depth of these pages varies widely and correlates with the level of court — supreme courts get deeper coverage than lower courts. For many trial courts, the page is nothing more than a stub with a link to the court’s official website.

Other sections of the site cover judicial selection, judicial philosophy and court-related news stories. The judicial selection sections discuss the topic broadly and also on a state-by-state basis. The philosophy section covers topics such as judicial activism, originalism, stare decisis and strict constructionism.

For lawyers, the site is perhaps best used as a reference source on specific courts and judges. Each state gets a main page from which you can drill down to pages for particular courts and judges. The supreme court pages are the most developed, with current and historical information about the courts, their judges and their notable opinions.

Judgepedia is sponsored by the Lucy Burns Institute, an organization devoted to helping promote openness in government and to helping citizens compile and share information about governments. It also sponsors the projects WikiFOIA and Ballotpedia.

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