Associate Dean Michael Whiteman of the Northern Kentucky University – Salmon P. Chase College of Law has posted The Death of Twentieth-Century Authority, a paper “first presented at the 2010 [Association of American] Law Schools’ Annual Meeting.” Here is the abstract:
The case of Bush v. Gore stands out as the seminal decision that decided the disputed election of 2000, and arguably set the course of the nation for the next eight years; for legal researchers it was a herald of a different sort. With the citation in the Per Curiam opinion to an online newspaper article , Bush v. Gore fired the fatal salvo in the death of twentieth-century authority. Whereas in the past, courts relied on a stable, select group of print resources, today’s attorneys and judges are moving towards a much more free form, open research universe.
This article will explore what the title suggests as the death of Twentieth-Century authority. This article will trace the shift away from traditional authority, outlining some of the emerging problems associated with this shift, including the disappearance of online sources after their use, and the trouble with the authentication of online legal materials. An examination of what these new authorities are, as well as the growing use of these new sources follows, including the positive and negative reactions from the courts. A troubling pattern of courts taking judicial notice of these sources will be examined, and this article will conclude with a look at the positive impact reliance on these new sources of authority is having on the judicial system as a whole.