Dodson and Starger: Mapping Supreme Court Doctrine: Civil Pleading: Article and Video

Professor Scott Dodson of the University of California Hastings and Profesor Colin Starger of the University of Baltimore have published Mapping Supreme Court Doctrine: Civil Pleading, Federal Courts Law Review, 7, 275-284 (2014).

The article, and the video on which it is based, have been posted to SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

This essay, adapted from the video presentation available on Vimeo as #89845875, graphically depicts the genealogy and evolution of federal civil pleading standards in U.S. Supreme Court opinions over time. We show that the standard narrative — of a decline in pleading liberality from Conley to Twombly to Iqbal — is complicated by both progenitors and progeny. We therefore offer a fuller picture of the doctrine of Rule 8 pleading that ought to be of use to judges and practitioners in federal court. We also hope, through the video presentation, to introduce a new visual format for academic scholarship that capitalizes on the virtues of narration, graphics, mapping, online accessibility, and electronic dissemination.

This is an interesting example of the use of SSRN‘s video display capability.

Click here for previous posts about Colin Starger’s research using the SCOTUS Mapper Software.

HT @ColinStarger

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Schwartz: Public Access vs. Open Access regarding legislative data

Molly Schwartz has posted Public Access vs. Open Access, at the Congressional Data Coalition Blog.

Here are excerpts from the post:

“Doesn’t Congress already make its information publicly accessible?”

That’s the question I hear most frequently when I tell people about the Congressional Data Coalition’s mission to get Congress to provide open access to its data. “Open access” is a complicated and loaded term in the digital information world, but at its core it involves three main components:

The ability to find the data.
The ability to use the data.
The ability to repurpose the data.

Truly achieving open access to congressional data will require more than just posting the information online: the information has to be in the correct format. Presenting data as gobs of text is seriously problematic because machines cannot read it.

In today’s information ecosystem, information that cannot be parsed and read by machines is like building an all-terrain vehicle that can only drive straight forward. It might be able to get you where you need to go, but only if your destination lies straight ahead. And it completely defeats the purpose of being able to drive off-road.

So what can congressional data that is machine-readable do that facilitates open access?

Finding the data: Search engines can search for the content stored within documents.

Using the data: A variety of programs can access and display the data. Mobile apps can provide to-the-minute updates, APIs can scrape it and immediately display it on another website, programs can download it into spreadsheets, etc.

Repurposing the data: Data can be run through programs that display it in charts, graphs, or elegant visualizations. Journalists and engaged citizens can also get timely access to the data that informs their output and ideas. [...]

For more details, please see the complete post.

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Webcast: 23 April: Iron Tech Lawyer Competition, Georgetown Law Center

The latest Iron Tech Lawyer Competition is scheduled to be held 23 April 2014 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

A live video webcast of the event is said to be available at:

This is an event in which law students present new legal technologies that they have developed in the past few months in a course at Georgetown University Law Center.

Here is a description of the event:

Georgetown Law Iron Tech Lawyer — Access to Justice Edition. In just one semester, students in Georgetown Law’s Technology Innovation and Law Practice practicum built apps to help the public navigate legal processes. Six teams will show off their apps in the hopes of earning the title of Iron Tech Lawyer. This semester’s apps include:

  • The Den: New York City Debt and Eviction Navigator – Collects data on the ability of seniors in the New York City area to access the courts, and helps non-lawyer social workers aiding the elderly to offer assistance and materials relating to legal problems such as housing and consumer debt.
  • Immigration Navigator – Guides immigrants through the complex landscape of immigration law. By asking a few simple questions, the Navigator can pinpoint which of the many immigration laws and relief programs may help the user.
  • New York City Earned Sick Time Advisor – Provides clear and easy guidance to New York City employees to help them determine if they qualify for sick leave under the New York City Earned Sick Leave Act and, if so, how much sick time they have earned.
  • Pennsylvania Children’s Medicaid Appeals Advisor – Helps parents with minor children navigate the Medicaid appeals process after their coverage provider has denied, reduced or terminated their services.
  • Triage and Intake Assessment System – Helps potential clients determine whether they are eligible to receive Virginia Legal Aid’s assistance and provides referral resources.
  • The Unemployment Benefits Hearing Coach – Serves as a coach to users preparing for unemployment benefit hearings at the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, and provides targeted guidance regarding the evidence users should present. [...]

DC Legal Hackers is organizing a lunch before the event.

The Twitter account for the event appears to be @GtwnLawIronTech

One Twitter hashtag used during the event was #IronTechLawyer

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Stopczynski, Greenwood, Hansen, and Pentland: Privacy for Personal Neuroinformatics

Arkadiusz Stopczynski; Dazza Greenwood, JD; Professor Dr. Lars Kai Hansen; and Professor Dr. Alex Pentland have posted a working paper entitled Privacy for Personal Neuroinformatics, on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

Human brain activity collected in the form of Electroencephalography (EEG), even with low number of sensors, is an extremely rich signal raising legal and policy issues. Traces collected from multiple channels and with high sampling rates capture many important aspects of participants’ brain activity and can be used as a unique personal identifier. The motivation for sharing EEG signals is significant, as a mean to understand the relation between brain activity and well-being, or for communication with medical services. As the equipment for such data collection becomes more available and widely used, the opportunities for using the data are growing; at the same time however inherent privacy risks are mounting. The same raw EEG signal can be used for example to diagnose mental diseases, find traces of epilepsy, and decode personality traits. The current practice of the informed consent of the participants for the use of the data either prevents reuse of the raw signal or does not truly respect participants’ right to privacy by reusing the same raw data for purposes much different than originally consented to. Here we propose an integration of a personal neuroinformatics system, Smartphone Brain Scanner, with a general privacy framework openPDS. We show how raw high-dimensionality data can be collected on a mobile device, uploaded to a server, and subsequently operated on and accessed by applications or researchers, without disclosing the raw signal. Those extracted features of the raw signal, called answers, are of significantly lower-dimensionality, and provide the full utility of the data in given context, without the risk of disclosing sensitive raw signal. Such architecture significantly mitigates a very serious privacy risk related to raw EEG recordings floating around and being used and reused for various purposes.

HT @LegalScience

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Carmel: A project to increase free public access to the U.S. Statutes at Large

Joe Carmel has posted a description of a new project to increase free public access to the U.S. Statutes at Large, and a call to participate in that project: US Statutes at Large: Essential to understanding our laws and legislative history, at the Congressional Data Coalition Blog.

Here are excerpts from the post:

[...] The United States Statutes at Large is the legal and permanent evidence of all the laws enacted during a session of Congress (1 U.S.C. 112) [...]‘

[...] So far, volumes 65 through 124 (1951-2010) of the Statutes at Large [...] have been published by the Legislative Branch per the November 2010 authorization. [...]

Making more laws available

Starting in January 2014, the Congressional Data Coalition and citizens joined together to make the individual laws and other documents of the US Statutes at Large available as discreet PDF files. We’re a little over half way through the initiative but we need volunteers to help for the final push.

Rather than attempting to produce a full-text table of contents for each volume as was accomplished by GPO for the post-1950 volumes, we’ve extracted the page number where each component (public law, resolution, etc.) begins by reusing the OCRed text from the PDF files. We then crowdsource the proofreading and correcting of the data which is where we need your help. Once the simple table of contents is completed, software extracts the individual PDF files for each sub-document. The software to do all this is open source and available online.

As of April 2014, volumes 28 through 64 (1893-1951) have been processed. We’ve also begun extracting the text from the tables of contents from the volume files and combined it with the simple table of contents data being used to create the files (sort of like a final QA check). By combining the two data sources (the text from the tables of contents along with the public law number and stat page data, we’ve been able to build more usable tables of contents. See the U. S. Statutes at Large Pre-1951 Directory. [...]

Please consider helping our effort and volunteering along with us at [...]

For more details, please see the complete post.

Posted in Applications, Calls for participation, Data sets, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Projects, Technology developments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presentation of book, Peruginelli and Ragona (Eds.), “Legal Informatics in Italy,” at Italian Senate, 14 May 2014

A presentation ceremony and panel discussion regarding Ginevra Peruginelli and Mario Ragona (Eds.), Legal informatics in Italy. Fifty years of study, research and experience (2014), will be held 14 May 2014 at the Italian Senate in Rome.

Dr. Peruginelli sends the following information additional information about the event:

To participate in the event (in Italian) one needs to register by May 9th at .

We look forward to seeing foreign experts also this May in Rome.

The index of the Volume and English abstracts are available at:

Click here for earlier posts about the book.

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