Wikisource talk:WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court cases

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

preliminary work[edit]

The first things to do are:

  • design a basic wikiproject wiki to post at top of concerned pages. this tells people that the pages are current subject to dramatic changes and encourages them to participate
  • agree on basic style guidelines
    • is naming convention acceptable for adoption across all pages
    • how should headings look on pages should they look just like the rest of the pages or should they be bold and/or centered
  • finish wikiproject page to open for business and post on wikiproject index (whereever that is)

--Metal.lunchbox 04:00, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I think the headings look better centered and bold and it makes it easier to read.--Metal.lunchbox 04:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

linking cases[edit]

I'd like to propose that all cases be double listed in Wikisource under their common case name (as they are currently and under their citations which would redirect to the case. This would make wikifying the articles much simpler. All one who need to do is bracket in the citation. This also makes it so that people can easily find cases even if they don't know how they are written here at wikisource. Tinker v. Des Moines or Tinker et al. v. Des Moines school district or someting else. you get the point. If anyone disagrees tell me. --Metal.lunchbox 05:19, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I think this is a good idea. Even though I think the titles "Plaintiff v. Defendant" should be standardized, I think creating these redirects would be beneficial anyway.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 23:46, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


I know we are adding these cases to the category for US Supreme Court decisions but do we also need to add all the concurrent opinions and dissent opinions seperately. Instead of just having each one being add to the category and making it look more cluttered. --Wabbit98 11:05pm 13 Decmeber 2006 (PST)

that's a very good point. We can easily change this by removing the category link to USSCcase2. That way only the main page with the sylabus will be listed. As far as clutter it certainly make a big difference but I'm not sure if it makes sence. I mean shouldn't those pages be categorized? The rest of wikisource seems to function as you are describing, only one category listing no matter how many subsections. I'll remove the category link form the template. Thanks--Metal.lunchbox 20:38, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure I'm following this discussion very well, but I'll add my opinion. I think only the "main" page for each court case should be categorized. This will make maximal usage of the (mediocre) category system, as people will only see the titles of the court cases and not all the subpages of those cases; this would be a more "common-sensical" approach, as most people would be browsing the category for the cases themselves and not individual rulings of those cases.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 23:46, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
This is done. --Metal.lunchbox 20:15, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

links to wikipedia or wikisource?[edit]

when wikifying pages should the cases referenced on these wikisource pages link to wikipedia articles about them or directly to wikisource pages? I say we should go to wikipedia 1. Wikipedia has more and so we're more likely to get a decent link 2. its logical to lead readers to encyclopedia articles for a little understanding of the concepts put forth in referenced cases. we can then make sure that the wikipedia articles link clearly to wikisource pages.--Metal.lunchbox 22:08, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

As well we do not have many pages on Wikisource that we could reference anyway at this time. How about redirecting from Wikipedia to Wikisource on the cases we do have up already like Furman v. Georgia and the Connecitcut one. -- Wabbit98 2:13pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

well at wikipedia they've got a template that automatically searches for pages at Lets get a few decent cases going and then see if we can't convince somone active with that template to aim to wikisource. In the mean time I'll just put one of those silly {{Wikisource}} things on the page--Metal.lunchbox 22:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Could we manually change some of them like Furman and Griswold? --Wabbit98 1:13pm 15 December 2006 (PST)

I disagree. I think if a court case references another case, we should make internal links (links to the case here on WS). If we at the time do not have the case, then adding the internal links might spur its creation more readily. This actually falls under the grid of "how do we differentiate ourselves from other libraries": one of the ways I've noticed that we can stand out is by internal linking. Many places do not link to documents that are referenced in another work. If WS did so, it would help stand itself out (besides, if a court case is referenced in another one, the other person might want to read what the text actually says--similar to they would want to know what a concept/word is if they read it on Wikipedia).

The header can provide introductory material from WP and link to WP (which is standard if there is a related page existing on WP), but I think outside of the header, most links should be internal.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 23:51, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Zhaladshar I am not to familiar on how to link within WS. I know how to link something from here to WP, but within WS. --Wabbit98 3:55pm 15 December 2006 (PST)
  • link inside wikisoure = [[Furman v. Georgia]]
  • link to wikipedia = [[w:Furman v. Georgia]] without the "w:" all links will be internal.
There's a million links to be done and I think we need some consistancy about wiksource v. wikpedia 796 U.S. 24 (2010) before we get involved in the wikifying. Personally I think it's easier when reading to see a brief article about a referenced work cited in a case because they cite cases (esp. more recently) about once every two or three sentences. Of course, as i belive you are suggesting, Zhaladshar, easier is not always/usually better. I see no compelling reason to adopt a clear policy for either one above the other so it will come down to what most people here think we should do. In the mean time I'll be reformatting not linking.--Metal.lunchbox 20:24, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Also another thing is are we going to add just certain main cases or eventually every single opinion. Right now we are just busy, me and Metal.lunchbox with just reformatting what we have. So that needs to be talked about, every opinion or just certain opinions. --Wabbit98 8:20pm 16 December 2006 (PST)
I'd suggest we concentrate on reformatting what we've got for now. Of course that's not to stop anyone from adding some cases. There's no reason the supreme court case index can't have many many more cases. once we're done bringing the pages we have up to speed we can start adding. Even if we just add select cases there's still plenty to choose from. If theres a case you'd like to see here just add it.
Metal.lunchbox: The biggest reason I have for keeping internal linking is that WS wants people to use these pages for research purposes. We want them to look us up for the texts they are writing papers about/collecting for a presentation/etc., and if we keep with internal links, the person doing the research can actually read the source texts that are referenced in a work they are reading and can get a better understanding of the actual source text without having to rely on just a summary statement of the work.
However, this does not mean that they can't get just a couple-line summary. In the headers, there is a note parameter, where we are supposed to add an excerpt from WP which collects a summary of the most important/relevant information about a particular source text. So, keeping with internal linking, a reader does get the summary statement but also gets the source text itself. If a reader wants something more indepth, he can easily click the link in the {{wikipediaref}} to read all about the text on WP. I see internal linking as killing two birds with one stone.
Wabbit98: WS strives to collect complete texts. That means we want to have all the opinions of a court case, regardless of how minor/unimportant it is. This does mean more work for the contributor, but if they don't want to add the complete text, they should add {{incomplete}} to the page so another can add it.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:16, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Okay I am having issues linking cases within Wikisource. In a couple like Roe v. Wade and a few others in the syallbus and the opinions they mention cases we already have but when I go to link them it shows that these cases do not exist in Wikisource when they clearly do. Obviously I am doing something wrong. -- Wabbit98 2:52pm 26 December 2006 (PST)

Could you show me a page where this problem is exhibited? I might be able to help if I can see it.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:36, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

When should we start changing the links at Wikipedia so that they go here to the opnions themselves? Also how is it done, because I know I am going to screw it up. -- Wabbit98 10:56pm 11 Janurary 2007 (PST)

In theory it isn't difficult but what they are using a very sophisticated template which links directly to Findlaw, a commercial site. personally I think that's a horrible idea because, 1. not all the cases are present on findlaw, 2. findlaw is a commercial site, and 3. we've got an awesome collection on wikisource that gets automatically overlooked. I propose that we ignore the template problem for now because I don't know how to and have no authority to be changing the template. What we can do though is to change the little links at the end of the pages that ironically also link to findlaw. I think we should replace those with a link to wikisource. I say we do it exactly like this. It's small, simple, and it works.--Metal.lunchbox 07:26, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

After a brief chat with the folks over at the Wikipedia SCOTUS project. I think we should deal with wikipedia articles linking to wikisource like Schenck v. United States using the {{wikisource-inline}}. under "External links" subsection. The talk page for the template explains how to use it.--Metal.lunchbox 16:03, 14 January 2007 (UTC) --Metal.lunchbox 16:03, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

United States v. U.S. District Court[edit]

Thanks for putting in all of the work on these Supreme Court text files. I have long wanted a text companion to this page I started. I was wondering if you would consider changing or modifying how you put the wikisource link on the wikipedia page. I would propose using the {{wikisource}} notification icon {{Portal:United States v. United States District Court}} instead of/in addition to the {{wikisource-inline}} link you are currently using. I have read the comments on the project page. I first stumbled upon wikisource after noticing the icon on a wikipedia page. It jumped right out at me, so to speak. The better we inform others of the availability of wikisource material related to the articles they are reading, the more informed the reader will become. That seems to occur best if they notice the wikisource icon sooner rather than later. Sometimes people just don't linger on a wikipedia page long enough to absorb all of the quality information. Its a tag that has more eyeball grabbing power.Jmcneill2 10:16, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

pages, sections, parts ?[edit]

I'm trying to edit Furman v. Georgia/Concurrence Marshall and I'd like to break it up with his introduction on the first page, and the sections I,II,III etc on seperate pages. on the header link I don't know what to call these. is it section I, part I, § I? this page is much too long and we should establish a common way of referring to different sections that is inline with standards. I suspect that "§ I" is the way to go--Metal.lunchbox 22:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I think Part I or saying Section I would be better than § I. Using § I sounds like we are quoting US Code instead. --Wabbit98 3:37pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

This should be pointed out but in the orginal documents, other cases are in italics and I have been trying to make sure they are put in italics when I copy them over. So just be careful of that so we know which cases they are citing in their actual work. I also bold whatever was bold as well. --Wabbit98 3:40pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

Yeah the symbol's a bit imcomprehensible to. Let's go with section. I just believe that it helps to have standards. Section I it is--Metal.lunchbox 06:10, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

It is getting difficult to deal with the long opinions. Take a look at Reynolds v. Sims. Two of those opinions are long. How would the template look like though? --Wabbit98 11:06pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

Is there a length at which point we should spilt up the sections into seperate pages? --Wabbit98 3:15pm 15 December 2006 (PST)

I don't think ther is a length at a which we should split If the opinion seems very long and already has good divisions then break it up. I did that with Marshall's opinion in Furman v. Georgia. Other long pages can be broken up in a similar fashion--Metal.lunchbox 20:14, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

There are advantages to having a long page instead of several short pages. Its less confusing, harder to get lost, easier to search, etc. however there as some that are clearly just too long, very hard to read and harder to edit. use your discretion. if you are annoyed by the length of a given decision just break it up. err on the side of keeping long pages--Metal.lunchbox 02:59, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I looked at the opinion of the court for Reynolds v. Sims. I'm not sure how big the original opinion is (i.e., not split up), but I think if it's smaller than 150 kb, there is no real need to split it up. However, if the text is going to be split like it is, subpage notation should still be used. So, instead of Reynolds v. Sims/Opinion of the Court I and Reynolds v. Sims/Opinion of the Court II it should be Reynolds v. Sims/Opinion of the Court/I and Reynolds v. Sims/Opinion of the Court/II to keep in standard with the page naming conventions WS has adopted. If no one objects I'll make the page moves.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:22, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't agree with the 150k thing for the following reason. I don't have a top of the line computer and use internet access where I can get it, When I open a page of more than about 80k to edit it is very difficult not only to navigate but to process, very slow. I do however agree that we should err on the side of keeping pages together. I just broke up a few pages that I was having difficulty editing. As for the naming convention I have no reason to think that putting broken up pages in a subdirectory is either a good idea or a bad idea. I just organized it in a way that made sense to me. If you think that is a better way to do things then by all means go ahead. And I'll use that as a reference in the future if/when I decide to break up some more pages. Thank you--Metal.lunchbox 19:20, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
actually adding another subdirectory adds another level of complexity. It would mean that we would have to add another template USSCcase3 or somehow magically make one template to support all three direcotry levels. I prefer simplicity but I also think that the SCOTUS section should generally conform to the wikisource norm. There is nothing particularly challenging about making another template but it's just one more thing to go wrong in what should be a very simple process, adding a document. wikisoure is already very difficult to use for those not familiar, why make it any harder?--Metal.lunchbox 23:04, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Let the header take care of linking to pages at that level. There really isn't any need to make USSCcase link to every single page (or subpage) for each case. I think so long as it links to the pages for concurrence and dissent, that's fine. It doesn't have to link to subpages of each dissent/concurrence.
For example, suppose we are on the page John v. Jane/Opinion of the Court/I (because the opinion is so large it must be split up). I would imagine the header would look like
    | title    = [[../../]]
    | author   = Some justice
    | section  = Opinion of the Court, Part I
    | previous = 
    | next     = [[../II|Part II]]
    | notes    = 
And then we could place USSCcase2 on this page which would link back to the Opinion, and the different opinions by other justices. Any thoughts?—Zhaladshar (Talk) 14:54, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I like what Metal.lunchbox did in the Marshall opinion in Furman v. Georgia. If you take a look at that header it spilits it up where you can still go to the other opinions as well. -- Wabbit98 8:38am 30 December 2006 (PST)
Actually I wasn't suggesting changing the template to show all of the subpages but a third template would be needed if we put the section pages in a subdirectory, because the links would be broken. It's not complicated. "../" would have to be "../../", etc. Personally I think the little navigation bar i did at the top of Marshall opinion in Furman v. Georgia works well, small and legible and uncomplicated. I'm just not wild about putting the sections in a subdirectory. I think we should make things less complicated instead, that is some of the shorter sections should be consolidated onto one page. For the momment I'm just going to avoid this issue by not splitting anything ever. --Metal.lunchbox 19:33, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Could the problem not be solved merely by adding "../Whatever" instead of just "Whatever" to the template parameters? That way, USSCcase2 could still be used and it would only take a small amount of extra typing to get the links to work? I understand what your problem is (I didn't know what you meant, but I see the possible problem you were talking about), and am wondering if this possible solution would suffice. Ideally, if it does, we could only use one template and just add the necessary amount of "../" to the parameters.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 21:58, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

US Supreme court page[edit]

The Case law page is super long and if we are going to be adding to the supreme court section which is already pretty substanial perhaps we should put it on a seperate page. That would allow the cases to link directly back to the US Supreme court page instead of to the case law jungle--Metal.lunchbox 23:29, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with that; it already seems overcrowded with just the few cases that are there right now. --Wabbit98 3:30pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

What shall we call it though. I thought Portal:US Supreme Court is that good?--Metal.lunchbox 06:11, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

That sounds good to me. Time to edit what we have now. --Wabbit98 11:05pm 14 December 2006 (PST)

New United States Supreme Court case index page. I used that name because wikipedia titles their page that way. eventually we'll have to come up with some kind of scheme to organize them beyond just a long list but it works just fine for the momment--Metal.lunchbox 20:10, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


I have been thinking about what cases we can add to the list after we are done reformatting and how it might be organized further. First, I believe we should defintly have the cases that are listed on the Wikipedia site first and the landmark ones as well. After that we should just go from there and add whatever cases we want to add. In terms of organization, you can do it a couple of different ways; by year and/or by whoever the Chief Justice is. So if people what to search by the Chief Justice to see what cases he was involved in, they can do that and if they want to search just by year to see what cases were decided that year; that can be done as well. This is just my two cents. --Wabbit98 8:57 am 18 December 2006 (PST)

Currently we have so few cases that some chief justices only presided over one or two and others a dozen or so. This of course will change as we add more cases. with more cases it makes good sense to organize the cases choronologically by who's running the court. THis is simple enough to achieve. I think you've got the right idea about cases to add. keeping up with wikipedia will keep us busy into the next decade. The other logical ways of browsing the cases are by author and by subject matter. With each opinion listing its author we can easily make author pages for each judge all to be included in a category of Supreme Court Judges. We could have a simple link to the category page on the SCOTUS index page. easy enough. organizing cases by subject is very diffucult and the wiki format doesn't make this very practical. As this goes we should just respect the interlinking that the cases already do and try to add linked cases to the template whenever possible. --Metal.lunchbox 20:53, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of organization, what do you think of this →user:Metal.lunchbox/Sandbox. Do you think this kind of sortable table is a useful way of organizing the cases? I can see how it would be useful but it could also just steepen the learning curve that much more, discouraging people from contributing.--Metal.lunchbox 22:09, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Yeah we are going to be busy just keeping up with Wikipedia but we are making progress in reformatting the cases we have. In one of the few remaining red links on the Supreme Court page, I believe the Regents one. Looking at the source we are using there is a Justice who concurs in part and dissents in part. So how would we label that in the header, he is not fully concurring with the decision but he is also not dissenting fully as well. That organization might have to wait until we have more cases up and are fully working. It would still help if we got another person helping on this. But yes reformatting will take some time of the cases we have, but it looks like we are both getting better at it and it is going quicker now than before. I will not be able to update anything for the next few days as this is finals time at college, I will be back to updating on Wednesday night.--Wabbit98 2:16pm 18 December 2006 (PST)

The second table on the sandbox page is a table based on organizing by chief Justice. I kinda like the idea and its a hell of a lot less complicated than the sortable table. look at them both, tell me what you thnk. Yeas we could definitely use a few more voices/helping hands. I'll propose something for the concurring/dissenting issue and we can deal with that in time. Great work by the way. Dunno how you can find the time with the impending doom of finals so close.--Metal.lunchbox 22:36, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

My vote is for the chief justice table. its more flexible and easier to manage and understand.--Metal.lunchbox 17:44, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

My vote if we decide to use a table in the future with more cases is the chief justice table as well. -- Wabbit98 9:53am 19 December 2006 (PST)

Taking a look at the table should we use the name or number? I prefer name over number. -- Wabbit98 2:09pm 19 December 2006 (PST)

Concur in part and dissent in part should be handled as "Concurrence/Dissent [Author's last name]" That is what makes the most sense to me. If you have a better idea please share it. --Metal.lunchbox 14:49, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Scratch that, Concurrence/Dissent is a really bad idea, makes it a subdirectory. how about "Concurrence-Dissent [Author's last name]"?--Metal.lunchbox 03:00, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

How about instead have it say "Concur in part and Dissent in part" and can be added the the USScase template if needed. -- Wabbit98 8:19pm 25 December 2006 (PST)

I've already added this to the template. parameter is "concurrence-dissent_author1 = " and the files will be named similarly "Concurrence-dissent [author's last name]". I chose this format because it's meaningful but short. We can can alter this as much as you like though see as how none of the pages yet use this. "Concur in part and Dissent in part" may be the most acurate but it's quite longer.--Metal.lunchbox 00:03, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

template placement[edit]

So the Template for the Project {{WikiProject USSC}} is to go on the talk pages. That seems kinda useless so If you feel like omitting the wikiproject template altogether so be it.--Metal.lunchbox 20:07, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

New York Times v. United States[edit]

Metal.lunchbox could you take a look at that case. There are 6 concurring opinions and 3 dissenting. In the navigation bar on the right it only shows 5 conurring even though I expanded the USScase template to include all 6. -- Wabbit98 12:22pm 23 December 2006 (PST)

Fixed USSCcase and USSCcase templates to support up to 8 concurrences. its showing up now in New York Times v. United States--Metal.lunchbox 02:57, 26 December 2006 (UTC)


As you can see on the main page for this project and the page for {{USSCcase}}, I 've redesigned the template to make it a little more streamlined and readable for cases with many opinions and added support for opinions partly in concurrence and partly in dissent. The pages will be called "Concurrence-dissent [Author]". In the next few minutes I'll do the same for {{USSCcase2}}--Metal.lunchbox 22:54, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I've added more magic to the template. It now does plural/singular agreement and excludes the link cases cell if there aren't any linked cases. This means won't be confused by S's and less pointless info distracting from the content.--Metal.lunchbox 23:59, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


I see a lot of the cases are being redesigned in the template. Why are we changing it to this way and is it easier? I am not complaining about it just curious. -- Wabbit98 4:25pm 28 December 2006 (PST)

hmm. I'm not sure I understand your question. All the pages using the templates should now look a little diferent. I thought it was simpler smaller and easier to read/navigate this way. It was very easy and can always be changed back. That's why I started this project by designing a template, no matter how many pages use the template I only have to change the template page once and voila! Of course if you have any ideas about how to improve the template go ahead or if you don't feel comfortable altering the template make a suggestion either here or on the template's talk page.--Metal.lunchbox 23:39, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Maybe I didn't explain it very well. Eariler this week all the reformatted cases had like the following :

Opinion of the court

Concurring {name of the Justice)

Concurring (name of the Justice)

Concurring (name of the Justice)

Dissent (name of the Justice)

Dissent (name of the Justice)

With each one as its own seperate page and the authors last name under each one. Now it looks like this :

Opinion of the court

Concurring (name in red or blue)

Dissent (name of the justive in red or blue)

Hopefully this is clearer in what I am talking about

a few pages that still need the basics[edit]

There's been a whole lot of work done. To complete phase one of this wikiproject all the cases presented on the index page should conform to the basic style conventions we've developed. This means making sure that the cases are complete and divided and named as they should with Header and USSCcase/USSCcase2. There are only a few cases left that need this:

I'm forgeting about the Judith Miller case, because it's just such a different kind of document and frankly I don't understand it.

After this Phase one business we can move onto more interesting things, like adding tons of new cases to the index, adding author pages for all the justices, adding redirects from citation numbers etc.--Metal.lunchbox 22:08, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Miranda v. Arizona has all the text. Most of the rest I can not find at the Cornell site I have been using. I have been working on reformatting and adding a few cases here and there. -- Wabbit98 3:20pm 3 Janurary 2006 (PST)

I can not find New York v. Connecticut (1798) opinions at the Cornell site as well or the other early ones in red right now. If you want to chat live I am on the #wikisource channel on IRC whenever I am on Wikisource. Never mind I found Chislom v. Georgira -- Wabbit98 9:37pm 3 Janurary 2006

Pages that need a review[edit]

extraneous info added
George Orwell III (talk) 12:09, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for compiling that list--I removed the extra text. Per this discussion, the issue that caused that was identified and addressed. The issue pops up in pre-July 16, 2010 imports of cases with multiple concurrences. stephen (talk) 15:25, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

One of those too large for imports that seems to mash together the case before and/or after it. I tried fixing it but the footnotes are still broken on both. Maybe a retry would be easier. George Orwell III (talk) 18:30, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

If worse some to worse we could do it manually like we used too in the past. Wabbit98 talk 18:38, 3 August 2010
There will be plenty of cases to do the manual way but tweaking BenchBot to stop these errant behaviors as it encounters more & more types of cases (or different eras might be better here?) will only help get to that point in the end. George Orwell III (talk) 19:22, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
The too large issue happens when BenchBot tries to import a single opinion that is ~100kb (I haven't figured it out exactly). It appears to be a problem with pywikipeida, not the api. Still investigating. So far, my solution is to manually add these large opinions.stephen (talk) 06:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Moved to In re Cally and added the text to the Opinion of the Court from this source. stephen (talk) 06:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
stephen (talk) 20:15, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
George Orwell III (talk) 00:34, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Wabbit98 (talk) 10:58pm(PST), 10 August 2010

BenchBot-specific issues[edit]

I created User:BenchBot/log to keep track of BenchBot specific issues. I don't mind if they are posted here as well, I just didn't want to clutter the main project's discussion with lists that are only relevant to bot work. stephen (talk) 06:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Regents of University of California v. Bakke[edit]

Could you take a look at this one at there are seperate opinions I do not know off hand if they are Concurring or Dissenting, might need to make a few changes to the template. It is an ugly looking case. -- Wabbit98 9:57pm 3 January 2006 (PST)

Well, I ran into this issue yesterday when I looked at Dred Scott v. Sandford. I was also using the cornell page as a reference. several of the concurring opionions are "seperate." To be honest I don't properly understand the distinction myself. They signed on to the opinion of the court and then wrote really wordy seperate opinions. That sounds like the same thing as concurrence to me, but that's just my own ignorance. I suppose we should expand the template to support "seperate opinions" in the same fashion as the other three categories, but I'm really not going to do anything until I properly understand what a "seperate opinion" is.--Metal.lunchbox 08:19, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe email a law professor and ask him or her. -- Wabbit98 12:45am 6 Janurary 2006 (PST)

Looking at some of the historic opinion I think we are going to need to add a Seperate opinion line or 3 since many of those at least have one Seperate opinion. It does not categorize them into Consent/Dissent or any other way. Going to make the template even longer now. -- Wabbit98 12:14am 7 Janurary 2007 (PST)

Template now supports separate opinions which are listed after Concurrences, Dissents and Concurrence-dissent. see Dred Scott v. Sandford --Metal.lunchbox 15:36, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for adding them. Those cases with these seperate opinions are going to be monsters. -- Wabbit98 3:36pm 15 Janurary 2007 (PST)

New User[edit]

Great to hear that someone else is interested in this project. I assure you that we all find the learning curve at wikisource to be rather steep. That said, take a look at the wikiproject page under "Style Manual" for an idea of how the court decision pages should look. The page may seem a little hard to understand, but all the case pages are basically the same so when in doubt just copy and paste from another case. Any questions or issues just ask here or on the talk page of one of the users participating in the project. To give you an idea where we are, most of what we are doing is adding cases to the index. If you don't know what cases to add you could take one from the list below. --Metal.lunchbox 20:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

New Cases being added[edit]

I'm not sure how helpful this is but here's a list of cases that I'll be adding over a while. Most of them define the Bill of Rights (esp. 1st amendment) or serve to incorporate them following the 14th Ammendment:

Author Pages[edit]

I think this needs to be worked on next, we are getting a lot of cases but not a lot of author pages to link to their decisions. I am no good at making these, I tried to link one of the current Justices to a opinion and it was a disaster. So I feel that this should be started by someone, anyone and start linking them to their opinions before we get to many. Just my two cents. -- Wabbit98 10:32am 21 Janurary 2007 (PST)

The good news is that it's pretty simple and the linking happens automatically. The bad news is that theres alot of Justices and even more opinions so its very time consuming. I've done a little of this already but I think you're right when you say someone should try to catch up the author pages. I'm on it. --Metal.lunchbox 19:57, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Why on some of the author pages did you remove Dissents, Concurrences and Concurrence/Dissent before any cases have been added to them? -- Wabbit98 4:20pm 23 Janurary 2007 (PST)

No important reason. Just thought the pages would be more readable without empty subsections. --Metal.lunchbox 00:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

So basically just add them when we need them. Also I have seen on the USSCase2 that you edited that down. Does that mean we do not need all that extra space? Wabbit98

Yeah when you call the USSCcase templates you only have to use the parameters that you are putting info in. That means that though the template supports a whole lot of opinions, if its a simple unanimous decision with no other cases you want to link to you could just include " {{USSCcase}} " or " {{USSCcase2}} " after the header. see Marbury v. Madison. --Metal.lunchbox 23:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Wikisource and Wikipedia[edit]

I think that Wikisource should be broadly expanded and integrated with Wikipedia to include the case text for every case article that Wikipedia contains. And beyond that, I would like to see many more cases added to Wikisource. Right now, I'm trying to gauge the level of activity in this particular WikiProject before I begin working. I'd like to know if anyone would object to changing the Manual of Style from Case name/Concurrence Name to Case name/Name's concurrence. It seems like a more logical approach. Also, I think that the data entered into Wikipedia's w:Template:SCOTUSCase could be used here very easily, and I'm considering writing a more intricate template that would make editing easier. Does anyone have any thoughts? Cheers. --MZMcBride 20:17, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Proposed changes[edit]

Here a few changes I'm proposing to make this WikiProject more in-line with its sister project on Wikipedia:

  1. Move the WikiProject from Portal:Wikiproject US Supreme Court to Portal:WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court cases
  2. Deprecate Template:USSCcase and Template:USSCcase2 for a single template that would allow copying source code directly from Wikipedia; this information does not need to be entered twice
  3. Overhaul the Manual of Style for the WikiProject including moving opinions from Case name/Dissent Name to Case name/Name's dissent
  4. Overhaul Portal:Supreme Court of the United States
  5. Expand United States Reports

A lot of good work has been done here and on Wikipedia and it seems stupid to duplicate the effort required. For example, a listing of every case is available on Wikipedia already. In addition, hundreds of cases already have case citation and the Court's opinion on them already. A simple copy-paste operation would be very efficient and would allow quicker text creations. Please tell me any thoughts you have about these proposed changes. Cheers. --MZMcBride 02:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, I certainly appreciate your suggestions, but I'm a little unclear on exactly what you are proposing. First, I think that Case name/Name's dissent instead of Case name/Dissent Name may be a better format, but I'll suggest this: It would be a whole lot of work moving all the pages and links and If it ain't broke don't fix it. Its a good idea but the difference seems minor I think that what's been happeing with United States Reports is right-on. If that's the way they catalog the stuff then maybe we should add that too. Let's expand it. Also, I don't know what you mean by overhaul Portal:Supreme Court of the United States. What are you proposing? As well, this double template thing has come up many times and I think the consensus is if there's a better and simpler way to do it why not. At this point we're just waiting for someone to come up with something better. I made two templates to handle the two directory levels for each case. If you can navigate through both directory levels with one template, I'll give you a gold star. I don't know enough about templates to do it. Finally, Wikipedia integration is definitely for the better. Anything you can come up with to better and more seamlessly integrate with wikipedia is going to benefit both projects. What we've come up with so far for this project is definitly not perfect, but it works. Let's make it work better.--Metal.lunchbox 19:09, 9 April 2007 (UTC)


I created Template:CaseCaption so we can unify caption formatting, and I added it to MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.. Any thoughts on adding this to the manual of style? stephen (talk) 03:53, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Problems with our naming convention[edit]

We are going to run into problems with our current naming convention. Currently, we add each case to a page with it's name, xxx v. xxx (e.g., Baker v. Carr). There are two main problems:

  1. Case names are not unique. There are many Supreme Court cases that share the same name, along with cases in other courts. If we keep naming policy, we are going to have to come up with some way to disambiguate.
    • Ran into the same issue early on with the titles to some Executive Orders being re-used over and over again through the years. Decided the only pagename that woud hold any content under it would be the number designation and all the other combinations, be the official creations or WS user created, of titles, dates ad/or EO numbers would redirect to that. It made the Categorytree(s) of U.S. Executive orders uniform and streamlined as it grew to include more issuance years and Presidents.
  2. Case names have a lot of opportunity for inconsistency. Abbreviations and omissions in party names make things especially difficult. It's a good idea to abbreviate (otherwise names would become unwieldy), and there are some standards we can follow, but this is complicated. If names are not consistent, it may be difficult to find or link cases, and contributors may unknowingly upload redundant content.
    • Does seem like alot of work with not much in the way of benefits (are you going to et al. everything and everybody?) This route would not be my option...

We can avoid most of these problems if we add Supreme Court cases according to citation, naming the page [volume] U.S. [page] (so Baker v. Carr would be moved to 369 U.S. 186, and the subpages would be moved accordingly), and then we can create as many (or few) redirects as necessary. There may still be issues with uniqueness, but the citation will always be consistent. Slip opinions are the only big complication I can think of. Any thoughts? stephen (talk) 00:11, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Much, much better approach IMHO. Though, as with most "page-based" volumes, you will run across 2 items sharing the same page every so often. (see 493 U.S. 906 for example). The next issue will then be the sub-pages holding the opinions, dissents & concurences. Is 369 U.S. 186/Opinon of the Court what works "best" here? I say sure -- only because I know a little bit about this project but newbies might not follow the naming scheme so easily. Just something else to consider & not an argument against it.George Orwell III (talk) 01:09, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I noticed that too, especially in later volumes. What do you think would be the preferred approach to dealing with those cases? Since they tend to be short ("Cert denied" and/or a brief opinion), I think they should all be consolidated on the same article/page, purely for the sake of keeping the number of articles to a minimum. Otherwise, the later volumes will result in thousands of brief (often one-line) pages.
I also understand what you mean about the subpage scheme. I figure that if we want to fix that in the future, we can just transclude them all together. Changing the page name to the citation is a big deal because it will require moving every court case we currently have up--not a big deal with a bot, but still a chore. stephen (talk) 01:31, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
'Blech! After looking at the later volumes - I'd reconsider going to that method of page naming at all. Any unformity or benefits gained would be lost in the later volumes as well as moving forward it seems. Unfortunately LegalSkeptic's dissent (pun intended) below might be right here. It is almost certain to be more work and the subsequent interlinking of case names won't be smooth sailing either but it does seem more unavoidable to me now.
Forgive me if this is a stupid question as I'm not an expert but is there any chance that the repository has generated thier own case names with abbreviations included at all??? or do these volumes have any sort of table contents giving thier version of the case name & maybe those contents just aren't hosted at I only ask becase of the existing tables of case names for the U.S. Reporter that somebody constructed long before I got here don't always match up with the one created during importation.George Orwell III (talk) 02:19, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, naming the cases by the parties rather than the citation won't avoid the many, many "cert denied" pages in later volumes. If anything, going by citation allows us to consolidate them all on one page (ex. 544 U.S. 902), and naming them by parties makes this more complicated (ex. 544 U.S. 902 is MITCHELL v. UNITED STATES (544 U.S. 902), CHICAS-SANCHEZ v. UNITED STATES (544 U.S. 902), etc, etc, etc).
I haven't found a "canonical" list of case names. I am going to talk to my friendly neighborhood law librarian--hopefully they will be able to point me in some direction. Even if I do find a list for Supreme Court cases, I doubt I will find something similar for federal circuit court cases, state court cases, and so on.
It's starting to boil down for me like this... If the goal here is to use the most-effecient pagename to host the case content under and in order to better layout (sub)categories by year or volume number down the road; or even if it's just a better path for the importation of the missing cases and volumes -- then by all means use the U.S. Reprtr page name to build the articles under. If the most important consideration is to have the broadest impact with case interlinking to other related or cited cases and improved connection to or inter-mingled with any efforts already in motion on sister-sites or 3rd party projects -- then you are pretty much forced to place the content under some incarnation of the case name. It's a choice between which direction to follow for now only - both avenues have an eye to fully incorporating the other goal at some point down the road hopefully -- there is no wrong answer here the way I see it - just varying degrees of input required & varying numners of possible redirects that need to be created. George Orwell III (talk) 03:38, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Anyway, here is some inside baseball--I have been using a combination of sources and eyeballing the case names so far. The source text on is a good start--the party names are generally capitalized (although not always). Unfortunately, my script is not very good at telling the difference between a capital letter in a name (which is part of the party name) and a capital letter that is just an initial (which is not part of the party name). Also, names with ex rel. throw things off. Whoever added the list of case names to United States Reports also appears to have the same problem, and it looks like they used the same source as me. That is why, if you look at United States Reports/Volume 410, there is a link to case named United States v. J Mara J, which should probably just be United States v. Mara. Since these names are generally correct, I am using the detected name, the name on wikisource, and then eyeballing the names against the names on wikipedia, before uploading. A few odd cases pass under the radar (like Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare v. J Davenport). It would be much easier if I either had a completely reliable list of case names, or if I could ignore case names all together. stephen (talk) 02:50, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm... starting to see the need to keep petitioners first intial. "United States v. Smith" is pretty much resolved when keeping the intials I already see on most of the volume content pages. "United States v. J. Smith" versus "United States v. A. Smith" makes the need for disambiguation somewhat less of an issue if not less of a burden to do, No? George Orwell III (talk) 03:47, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to have to respectfully dissent on this one. Naming pages after cases may not be perfect, but it is the most familiar to most people. I think the problems you've raised can be solved in other ways:
  1. re: non-unique case names (e.g. something like "United States v. Smith") - I propose disambiguating these with citations, rather than moving them to citations outright. A "homonym" case like this could be "United States v. Smith (666 U.S. 666)."
  2. re: inconsistent case names and duplicates: I don't think this is anything that a reasonable number of redirect pages can't solve. Most importantly, each case should have citation pages redirecting to it. I've tried to go through all the SCOTUS cases and do this. - LegalSkeptic (talk) 01:49, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  1. Should all cases be disambiguated by citation? If not, how should I determine which case gets the name and which gets the disambiguation (the oldest case? the most significant case? whichever case gets uploaded first?) I like the citation in the name (either as the name or just for disambiguation, as you propose), because it makes it clearer which level court the case came from--N.J. supreme court, SCOTUS, circuit court, etc. I would be in favor of automatically disambiguating every case.
  2. Always abbreviate, or never abbreviate? Include et al. when there are multiple parties? If anything, I just want to be more consistent than they are with case names at Wikipedia.
  • I can't stress how much in agreement I am with you on this point. How an area or subject has matured over on WP to it's current state is nearly always NOT the best one emulate over here. They should be looking to here to for names, titles, stats & citations for use in thier articles and not the other way around. George Orwell III (talk) 02:32, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Both of your suggestions are reasonable, I just want to think through all the details. I agree that the full case name is the most descriptive place to put the case, and probably the most user-friendly. Unfortunately, it also means a few complications. stephen (talk) 02:14, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Another problem I'd like to point out with a citation naming convention arises with non-SCOTUS cases (not the main subject of discussion here, I know). For SCOTUS cases, you can always use the U.S. Reports. However, what about an NJ Supreme Court case? Would it be named after the N.J. Reporter citation or the Atlantic Reporter citation? LegalSkeptic (talk) 18:17, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
That is a good point, and something to think about even if we keep the party naming structure. Are we going to upload both the N.J. Reporter and the Atlantic Reporter? If not, we must develop policy on which reporter we favor. I put together {{Parallel reporter}}, and I will begin including information on parallel citations in the decisions I upload. The template will allow us to add a box indicating parallel citations, and it adds a category so we can do api queries. For example, this query shows the parallel citations for Boyd's v. Graves, and this query will tell you if there is any case parallel to 4 L.Ed. 628. stephen (talk) 01:09, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Err... I'd be careful with this side query thing - BenchBot was blocked by an Admin for couple of hours the other night during the importation of 20 U.S. 490. It managed to detect some 18th century poetry as a Supreme Court case. [1] Now I know that was most likely a super-rare fluke due to the "Santa Maria" similarities in the respective titles -- but if there is one thing that will build resentment toward a specific project around here it would be the unacknowledged infringement into other people's hard work. I respectfully & humbly suggest replying on BenchBot's talk page to the Admin's bug note with your best assessment of what happening before undoing or fixing BenchBot. George Orwell III (talk) 22:41, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Actually, these two problems are related. There is both a Supreme Court case entitled The Santa Maria and another document on WS entitled The Santa Maria. This is why a unique naming scheme is important. The bot detected the poetry entitled The Santa Maria and didn't overwrite it. Unfortunately, the The Santa Maria did not have a talk page, so BenchBot detected nothing and added the talk page for the SCOTUS case.
Since there is some consensus about disambiguating by citation, the case The Santa Maria will be imported as The Santa Maria (20 U.S. 490) (and the corresponding talk page will be Talk:The Santa Maria (20 U.S. 490)). The import script will take an extra step to check if a page already exists on Wikisource, and disambiguate if it does. Disambiguating by citation solves the uniqueness issue above and avoids misplacing talk pages for poetry. stephen (talk) 23:41, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

← After reading this over, and also since I have been with this since the beginning, I believe we need to come to agreement on a few points and then worry about naming. First are we going to post every Supreme Court opinion, that is the major issue and then the major leg work of getting them all posted to Wikisource, and then linking the Wikipedia page to the Wikisource page (if there is one). Wabbit98 (talk) 9:40am PST, 31 July 2010

Well I can't say for sure and don't want to speak for him out of line here but Stephen (User:Slaporte) has secured bot status for (User:BenchBot) which automagically uploads court cases all by itself with little user intervention needed. The bot imports the case content to WS and makes improvements inline with WS standards to it in the process. It's been working quite well but, like most bots, needs tweaking to resolve new importing issues as they are encountered. The only manual work needed once uploaded is like you say, formatting, typically the footnotes and page breaks, and adding any important cross-linking. I don't see why all the Supreme Court cases can't be done, as I think Stephen intended to do anyway. George Orwell III (talk) 21:21, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
That is good, saves us the trouble of uploading the things manually (that would give me nightmares). I do not know how long it has been working since I have not seen many cases added to the main WS Supreme Court page. Though this can be fixed easily, and filling in the authors pages as well which is pretty simple. George and Stephen, I think cross-linking should be done on a case by case basis and not just cross-linking to the same volume. Wabbit98 (talk) 3:30pm, 31 July 2010 (PST)
It's been running for about a month now (BenchBot Contributions) with what appears to be hundreds & hundreds of cases imported so far. Like I said before, this project needs people to go back and clean-up any errant entries and wikify the new content as needed. We can go by a case by case basis but not being a legal expert I wouldn't know what is better than following what's already been setup with the United States Reports volumes. I know there is also a Federal Reporter setup that covers other cases besides the Supreme Court ones but there has been even less attention paid to it than this and the U.S. Case Law projects as far as I can tell. I don't think anybody has addressed refreshing the main WS Supreme Court page, so that's a good point there and something that needs further consideration I'd think. George Orwell III (talk) 23:11, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Second in terms of naming, I have read some law Journals such as Harvard and Yale and they do it name (Roe v. Wade) and then volume number, and page number that the opinion starts at. If it is just a Supreme Court opinion they leave it at that, if it is one of the circuit courts or state courts they mention that in the volume number area (such as 9th Circuit, NJ State Ct., etc.). To label it like that would be helpful, though this brings us to the second issue, and one we never really resolved at the beginning (mainly ignored it and hoped it would go away on its own) was are we just going to do Supreme Court cases? Do we need to do Circuit cases, or even State Supreme Court cases? If we go that route that is a ton of cases to upload and these take time. If Stephen and others want to help that would be great. Also linking citations in opinions, I think linking cases and not volume numbers would be more helpful. Wabbit98 (talk) 9:40am PST, 31 July 2010

Here is a little more detail: I have all of the U.S. Supreme Court cases through 2005, and I am processing them using this tool, which among other things adds templates, formats most foot notes, wikifies citations, categorizes, and splits up the opinions. As I process a batch, I have a bot--User:BenchBot--upload the content. If you want to see his progress, check out his user page or this status page. Those lists are not all properly formatted, but if it is green on BenchBot's status page, then the case content is uploaded somewhere. Entering the citation (e.g. 293 U.S. 112) will always redirect you to the case if BenchBot imported it. George Orwell III is right--there are some scattered formatting issues that need review.
As to your second question, I think we should definitely include other cases beyond the U.S. Supreme Court. has raw versions of the Federal Reporter, first, second, and third series, that we will be able to process and upload similar to the U.S. Supreme Court cases [2]. I have seen User:Legalskeptic work on some New Jersey Supreme Court cases. Perhaps we can organize work on other court cases over at WP:LAW. Cheers, stephen (talk) 00:58, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Stephen thanks for the response. A question about BenchBot, I have seen on the recent changes page for it that it did like volume 490 and then volume 19, is there a reason for this or something else? For other courts I think it is just a couple of things, first the amount of work the 9th Circuit alone has about 3-4 opinions a day, also we can stick with the current naming but we will have to change it for Circuit courts and state courts. Second is the work load that can happen it is more than Wikipedia since this is always being updated, though bots do help. Glad to have you helping. Wabbit98 talk 1 August 2010, 11:06pm (PST)
I am still refining my processing script, so I have been jumping around to get a sample of cases. There are lots of quirks between cases over the years, for example early cases sometimes have letters (rather than numbers) for footnotes, and later cases seem to have many more concurrences and dissents. After a bit of testing all over, I started processing and uploading at 490, because I wanted to put the concurrence/dissent detection to the test, and then moved to 13. I will be importing chronologically now.
I agree, Circuit Court opinions will be more of a challenge. There is much more content in the Federal Reporter, those cases are not as uniformly formatted as Supreme Court cases, etc. It will be a little more difficult, but I'm confident we can handle it. stephen (talk) 06:53, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't know; hope there is a way to automate some of this Special:WhatLinksHere/Parker v. United States or we're just creating a bigger mess. George Orwell III (talk) 04:27, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
I think we are just going to have to wait until we get to that point, we are still in the US Supreme Court, with a long way to go. Also I like Slaporte guidelines if we need too by volume number and page number. Wabbit98 talk 10:55pm (PST), 6 August 2010

We are running into a problem in volume 495 a couple of cases that share the same name across multiple volumes Taylor v. United States and California v. American Stores Company, it seems BenchBot added Concurrences to these cases though I do not know if he added them for the right case did one have a Concurrence and another not have one? Davis v. United States is the same title spread across about 5 volumes according to Wikipedia. Wabbit98 talk, 11:02pm (PST), 8 August 2010

So there are at least two different cases named Taylor v. United States: 493 U.S. 906 (source here) and 495 U.S. 575 (source here). This case was added before I added existence detection, so Taylor v. United States/Concurrence Scalia is misplaced. It belongs on Taylor v. United States (495 U.S. 575)/Concurrence Scalia. Just for general reference, you can check BenchBot's uploads against the source in this list. In more recent uploads, a link to the source volume is on the talk page. stephen (talk) 07:51, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Proposed guidelines[edit]

After the above discussion, I have written up a proposed guide for page names for court cases: User:Slaporte/Case Name Guide. Please edit or discuss. Cheers, stephen (talk) 03:14, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Looks good to me, though we will have to see how it works in practice. Is your bot already following this name convention? Wabbit98 talk 11:17pm (PST), 4 August 2010
United States as a party

Just an observation after going back to some of the early Statutes at Large to try and turn some the old red links to blue now that a fair amount of older cases have been added -- it seems (stress seems) that most SaL citations involving United States follow this basic "rule":

  • United States v. Davis -- No "The" when the U.S. is the first party.
  • Davis v. The United States -- "The" included when U.S. is the 2nd party.

Let's try to keep this in mind and see if this "rule" holds "true" within case opinions & other works as well. George Orwell III (talk) 17:17, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it is common practice to include "the" in either case anymore, so I say we leave it off for consistency's sake. Bluebook Rule 10.2.1(d) says, "Omit 'The' as the first word of a party's name, except as part of the name of the object of an in rem action or in cases in which 'The King' or 'The Queen' is a party." Also, see Rule 10.7.1 (in the Eighteenth Edition), which mentions Kubrik v. United States--no "The" on the U.S. as second party. If anything, add a redirect from Davis v. The United States to Davis v. United States when necessary. stephen (talk) 07:51, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Ok but I was more concerned with amount of work interlinking across otherworks then becomes. I have no problem with following the rule(s) - I do have a problem with creating a set of articles that nothing else can easily link to (i.e. constantly requires customized redirects rather than just slapping double brackets around the term inline) was all. George Orwell III (talk) 09:20, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Another solution is to use the citation redirect when you see a non-standard case name. BenchBot always creates a redirect from the citation to the case, so you can do [[495 U.S. 472|Davis v. The United States]]. It's slightly more work than just slapping double brackets around the term inline, and it is only useful if you happen to know the citation, but most solutions will be imperfect. We also want want to be sure that we are linking to the right Davis case--there are many, many others, so no matter what naming convention we follow, a simple link will only be possible in a limited number of situations. That is generally why I like citations. Cheers, stephen (talk) 14:34, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Also looking at the various Davis cases even if we go the 'The' route, the United States is always the second party in the case so we would have to go by citation to change between them. Wabbit98 talk 10:00 am(PST), 9 August 2010
Phasing out Wikipedia interlinks

While going about the ever growing number of cases requiring disambiguation, I'm seeing an issue with continued use of the Wikipedia link in the {{USSCcase}} and {{USSCcase2}} templates. The problem is easily illustrated by examining Ableman v. Booth and Ableman v. Booth (62 U.S. 506) (No disambiguation done yet).

The Ableman v. Booth incorrectly has the Wikipedia link to the WP article with the same case name set to 'yes' when it should be the other one, Ableman v. Booth (62 U.S. 506). Being that the 2nd case name doesn't jibe with the matching WP article's ( Ableman v. Booth ), activating the link in the USSCcae template is pointless. I realize a good number of cases have this activated already - all I'm suggesting is switching to the header based parameter if the opportunity presents itself and modify BenchBot accordingly for future cases.

I'm suggesting moving towards the built-in sister link parameter found within the header template now by default (now added into the 2nd case for illustration}. Using this avenue can cut down on WPSD (Wikipedia Shortcut Disorder - the idea creating more redirects actually solves or improves anything) as well.

Thoughts? Improvements? etc. George Orwell III (talk) 22:31, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I didn't know about the header-based Wikipedia parameter, but I like it. I'm all for it. LegalSkeptic (talk) 01:34, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah it's only been incorporated into all the basic headers since early August or so. The standalone template is {{Plain sister}} for those odd instances you don't want to clutter up the notes field or something. I suppose we can do the same thing and incorporate the useful aspects of it into the 2 USSCcase templates leaving "no" as the default or something just as non-intrusive on existing articles. That seems like more trouble than its worth though I'm always mindful that future across-the-board changes to the main header templates may screw-up something specific for us down the road - but I tend to over-think these things a lot too. George Orwell III (talk) 01:59, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Index of cases[edit]

Should all Supreme Court decisions be listed on Portal:Supreme Court of the United States? I think that is a little redundant when we have Category:United States Supreme Court decisions and all the cases listed in the United States Reports. Also, that list will be very, very large. stephen (talk) 06:27, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Honestly I think it is easier to read the Wikisource page we have already one since it is broken down by Chief Justice and all in a row, we could possibly break them off to their own seperate pages. And the front page could just have the list of Chief Justices on the front and if you click that you get a listing of all the cases decided, and in chronological order. The category one I kind of dislike hard to read and follow. Just my two cents (mainly because I have put so much love and effort on the front page of the Supreme Court). Wabbit98 talk 2 August 2010, Midnight (PST)
Well, love and effort makes your two cents well qualified. I agree that Portal:Supreme Court of the United States is easier to read than the category page, I just like categories because they are an easy way to work with the large numbers of opinions. If you want, I can start adding cases to a category according to chief justice (e.g., Category:U.S. Supreme Court cases by the Rehnquist Court) calculated by year. Also, note that United States Reports already lists out each decision chronologically, even if it isn't split up by chief justice. stephen (talk) 07:08, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Though is it possible though to do the idea of splitting up the Chief Justices to each have their own page, and still have their cases chronological in a list, and to then just have a link or and expand function on the front page of the Supreme Court? Wabbit98 talk 2 August 2010, 8:15am (PST)
I would axe Portal:Supreme Court of the United States and make it redirect to United States Reports. But as an alternative, we could only list cases on Portal:Supreme Court of the United States if they are notable enough to have a Wikipedia article. The idea of breakout pages for each chief justice might be workable, but think of how long the page is going to be for Burger or Rehnquist - I like the U.S. Reports format better. LegalSkeptic (talk) 18:00, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I personally dislike the way the United States Reports looks and feels. I feel it is hard to navigate. My four cents. Wabbit98 talk 18:05, 2 August 2010
LegalSkeptic--I had the same idea about only listing notable cases, so I decided to dig around to see if WP had a notability policy for Supreme Court cases already written. From this discussion, I suspect that every opinion is notable enough to have its own WP article. Either way, I think that listing each case by chief justice is manageable, and it is probably more useful for many users than the lists by volume in the US Reports. Let's continue to list by chief justice and then split off into separate pages once the list becomes unwieldy. stephen (talk) 21:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Though if we do move into Circuits and state courts, doing something along the line of United States Reports and not having a page like the Supreme Court is fine. It is just that the Supreme Court is the big one and its decisions can have big impacts. Stephen do you know how to split the Chief Justices off to their own seperate pages? Or making the list collapsiable? Because I do not know how to do that. Wabbit98 talk 3:45pm (PST), 2 August 2010
We can just copy and paste the list from Portal:Supreme Court of the United States to a new subpage for each chief justice. E.g., Portal:Supreme Court of the United States/Rehnquist Court. If we want to do collapsable lists, just make a wikitable and then add class="wikitable collapsible collapsed". I would not use collapsable lists, though. They are not very efficient for a large amount of content (like thousands of supreme court cases). stephen (talk) 06:02, 3 August 2010 (UTC)


Do we want to put cases in italics on the individual author pages? Right now I am just following what was already started but about half do not have italics and about half do, I think it looks easier to read without the italics but that is just my two cents. Wabbit98 talk 9:22am (PST), 4 August 2010

I agree, it is easier to read without italics. We can follow bluebook rule 2 and not italicize when names are outside a textual sentence. stephen (talk) 19:24, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Okay when I see italics on author pages now I will remove them. Wabbit98 talk 2:40pm (PST), 4 August 2010

Splitting pages[edit]

I think it is time we start splitting off the pages for the list of Supreme Court decisions broken down by Chief Justice, in editing the list is starting to look really long. I am not good at doing that, preferably I would still want the list of the Chief Justice's on the front page and when you clik on their highlighted name it goes to the list of cases decided during thier time as Chief Justice and not to their author page if that is possible. Wabbit98 talk 11:55pm (PST), 5 August 2010

Started. See Wikisource talk:Supreme Court of the United States. stephen (talk) 04:16, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

SCOTUS Blog Wiki[edit]

You may find this interesting: SCOTUS BLOG has a wiki. They have an index of cases from a few terms and some statistics. Check out the case page for Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. It includes briefs, analysis, arguments, and external links. Unfortunately, the analysis and other original content is BY-NC-ND so it is off limits here. It is still nice to see Supreme Court info going up on a wiki. Cheers, stephen (talk) 19:36, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Hopefully this will not put a cramp into our style. Wabbit98 talk 6:05pm (PST), 9 August 2010

Portal:Federal Government of the United States[edit]

I set up a basic Federal government Portal based on the layout of the one over on WP earlier today. I don't plan on keeping every little thing that they had in place over there but I'm open to any ideas on how best to move forward with setting up responsible category trees while making a dent in all the accumulated "junk" in the author (or any other improper spaces) by pruning them out once and for all. George Orwell III (talk) 01:47, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

We should probably move the content at Portal:United States#Federal Government of the United States to the new portal. Many documents in Category:PD-USGov will also be relevant. I'm not exactly sure I understand how Portals are supposed to function on Wikisource. What is your vision for the category tree? stephen (talk) 02:10, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Well I can't even point you to a functioning example of an established & well-organized Portal on WS, so I'm basically winging setting one up as much as anyone else will be if they make the effort to contribute to it.
edit Found one set up from ~2007 or so -- Portal:Speeches. Looks like the whole thing is a re-direct from somebody's User: namespace.
  • Right off the top - all we have to deal with is properly producing then organizing content that has very little room for subjective interpretation, if any. There is no news-cycle, no political affiliation or moral hazards to deal with like you find on many of the efforts undertaken on sister sites by their participants. I envision the wikifying of the various serial sets, collections, journals, volumes, etc. that have been generated by the various branches of government over the decades as a worthwhile endeavour -- but I know I can't make anyone read the material, absorb its relevance or appreciate the nuances involved. Thankfully, that's one thing I won't be taking away from WP.
  • I don't see any huge hurdles in the way of setting up the basic category trees - having the ruling or enactment dates, who are those key signatures from and what was the collection of publishers/authors involved in its creation are, of course, a must in my view. Other than that, the only problem that comes to my mind is getting folks to come to an agreed upon approach and then sticking to it. My view is that Opinions produced in a particular year shouldn't be categorized as individual pages for that year's works but should be a sub-category of that year itself. Using 2004 (Category:2004 works) as a simple and uncluttered a year, with few other types of works meeting copyright limitations for hosting as an example, you can see that the UNSCRs and EOs for 2004 are up and out of the way of any of the other works found throughout the individual pages at the bottom. If you go back before 1923 to publications made before any degree of copyright protection kicked in and look for the same groupings, one cam imagine the amount of intersections between Taft the Poet and Justice Taft (I know, goofy example) one may observe. I'm over-simplifying there to make the point that breaking some of these works into buckets and buckets of sub-classifications on top of sub-classifications winds up working against clarity and ease of use the more one has the urge to lead the reader.
  • Finally - the last issue has more to do with other participants & their perceptions than anything on this side of the equation. A President, a Senator or an Associate Justice can be both Authors: and entities (Portals:) at the same time. The Dept. of Justice can be a nameless Author: or singular organization - just as the Attorneys General can be acting as Portal: rather than an individual. Sometimes the idea of building precedent with factual foundations of support to be applied and reviewed with some rational degree the next time a standing is challenged means that no one person should be credited with the work since many different bricklayers added to that foundation over time. Lincoln may and should get credit for the Emancipation Proclamation but the idea that Federal employees cannot hold most State or local positions at the same time is more of an eventuality than an epiphany on one President's part. For this reason I am reluctant lump a lot of this stuff under an umbrella such as Portal:United_States#AnyThing (but admittedly I tend to hope for the best and prepare for the worst YMMV.) George Orwell III (talk) 04:35, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I like it. I went and added/fixed some wikilinks for the judicial branch. LegalSkeptic (talk) 13:16, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Issue with USSC case templates[edit]

I've posted about a problem with the USSC case templates at Template_talk:USSCcase#Issue_when_combined_with, if anyone can help. —Spangineerwp (háblame) 22:39, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

List of United States Reports available online[edit]

FYI, I've created a table in my user space, User:Spangineer/US Reports, showing all the volumes of United States Reports that I could find on Wikimedia Commons and on Internet Archive. There are lots of gaps, but hopefully this is helpful for those folks who want to help migrate cases to the Page namespace. —Spangineerwp (háblame) 01:21, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

fwiw... its not a matter of locating missing ones ([3], [4], [5]) -- its a matter of everybody here pretty much sucks at the whole PDF to DJVU to Index: thing George Orwell III (talk) 01:32, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

An attempt at new USSCcase templates[edit]

After finding that {{USSCcase}} and {{USSCcase2}} do not appear to be compatible with the <pages> syntax, and believing that it's important that we work toward bringing all of our texts, including SCOTUS decisions, into the page namespace, I built a couple navigational templates that I propose replace the current ones. They are found at {{USSCcase/temp}} and {{USSCcase2/temp}}, and are currently in place at Kelo v. New London and Kelo v. New London/Opinion of the Court, respectively.

As far as I can tell, I did not eliminate any of the functionality present in the original templates. However, these new templates will require that we rethink how internal navigation in our works should be presented.

The concept behind using the page namespace is to match our text to something verifiable, namely, the image of a page in a real book. As we've continued to migrate to the page namespace, more and more editors are saying, "why not match the book and our text as closely as possible?" Thus, many of our works now have the original front matter of the book in the main namespace, along with the original table of contents. See, for example, A Study in Scarlet, August's featured text.

On the main page for A Study in Scarlet, there's no text whatsoever that is not in the main namespace, except for one place: the header. In the header, there are links and additional information, provided by a Wikisource editor, to make the text more accessible to the reader. But the reader intuitively knows that everything outside of the header is straight from the text.

The templates I've made attempt to do the same thing for SCOTUS cases: instead of using a large navigational aid, which does not appear in the source book itself, in the area where page text belongs, I'm recommending that we move the navigational aid to the header. As a result, we end up with templates that are more subtle, are conceptually consistent with using the page namespace, and, incidentally, aren't broken for Firefox and Chrome users =).

This notion is flawed. If folks wanted the exact content as published or printed, the Page: namespace is all that is needed - print that version if need be. The idea of transcluding the Page: namespace to a "plain-text" namespace is to modify the work to overcome the symptoms of publication as if the work was "born digital" to begin with. Upon transclusion, for instance, we are no longer concerned with keeping an individual page's footer notes married to that specific content but lump all of them together at the end of the combined pages' content instead.
Your solution is fine (though it does not display well in IE) and I agree the existing template needs refinement or replacement, but limiting works such as the US Reporter, a notoriously Table-of-Contents lax publication over the decades, to mimic the printed publication's layout is not beneficial to the reader in my opinion in this instance. This is a reference work at it's core and literary rules don't necessarily apply. George Orwell III (talk) 18:00, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not opposed to any of this; I definitely want to keep a supplementary TOC if it's needed (at least in the portal namespace, maybe in the main namespace). There are plenty of works published without TOCs that need them on WS (like one I'm working on, The Partisan). Here I'm just talking about the individual pages; I prefer getting navigational aids out of the area where page text goes. —Spangineerwp (háblame) 19:04, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

As for the templates themselves, feel free to make technical edits as needed. I made one functionality enhancement, where I use the example of {{Author}} for setting a link to Wikipedia: in the new template, leaving the "wikipedia" parameter blank does not create a link, but entering text generates a link to the corresponding article on Wikipedia.

Thoughts on all this? —Spangineerwp (háblame) 17:43, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

I am not a big fan of the redesigned look of Kelo v New London, not really a fan of the redesigned USScase either. I think it hurts how you can navigate the page. Also with that namescape we are dealing with documents published a long time ago without any clear way to get them imported ( I could be wrong about this). Also breaking up each opinion into separate pages would be a nightmare to navigate. I am not opposed what you did in the body of the opinions by having the pages off to the side, the problem is do we have to do this manually (a nightmare already) or can we incorperate this into BenchBot and have him fill it in the rest of the way. I am wary of making extreme changes like this when we are making progress and then having to go through 30 volumes of cases to change everything up again. Wabbit98 talk 12:36pm (PST), 27 August 2010

This is just a handful of recent cases from a single volume for now. BenchBot is certainly going to be the means to an end eventually but without these trial and error phases - the ability to refine the script goes nowhere if at all. George Orwell III (talk) 19:44, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
What is sort of important is locating the various volumes online (I linked a bunch in the section above too) and getting them uploaded while we still can (Haithi-Trust) even if nobody starts working on them right of way. George Orwell III (talk) 19:48, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Right. There's no need to stop the current importation process. Putting works in the page namespace is indeed a tedious process, so in the short- to medium-term, there's no way that anything more than a few of the most popular cases will be converted to pages. So the process of filling in red links should certainly continue, even if it doesn't mean that the page namespace is utilized.
As for the template, I'm open to suggestions. The problem is that the existing template does not work with <pages> in Chrome or Firefox, which many of our readers use. All the same links are present; to make them stick out more I put them in a colored box. If you look through the history of {{USSCcases/temp}} there are other options there too. Can you be more specific about what you don't like? —Spangineerwp (háblame) 20:24, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Forgive me if I'm starting to be a pain about this but rather than circumventing the "problem" with another template (with the understanding the existing template needs an overhaul either way), I think isolating the original problem, then finding it's workaround or fix, is unavoidable. There are other templates in use, {{CaseCaption}} for example, or being planned for future incorporation, that may or may not also have the same issues (ontop of also needing further refinements as well). I mean it is nothing more than a simple floating table at it's core isn't it?
Can you simply verify that the same occurs without the inclusion of the indented-page div class on the transcluded page for starters? (never mind that this will cause the page links to overlap the content for the time being) George Orwell III (talk) 21:08, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm the one being a pain; there weren't any issues until I started working on Kelo. Removing the indented-page class allows the links to work, but makes the first page number disappear (in Chrome), and all subsequent ones to be in the left sidebar (in Firefox and Chrome). I'll put it back to the way it was for now. —Spangineerwp (háblame) 21:35, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
No worries, friend. Now - how about not calling the class but substituting a straight div w/style parameters instead? --> div style="margin: 0em 0em 0em 3em;"
George Orwell III (talk) 21:46, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Wabbit and George. The existing templates and format are fine. I'm not sure if the page style used in Kelo will really give any more functionality than the current standard. This is primarily a reference, not a work of art, as George pointed out. The pagination format we're using now with [p45] page numbers in the middle of the text is what attorneys are used to when conducting legal research.
My main concern, though, is accessibility to the average user. The current standard doesn't require any special technical knowledge beyond what is required to edit any wiki. I honestly don't understand the whole djvu thing. LegalSkeptic (talk) 04:03, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


Here are some categories for cases missing information from {{CaseCaption}}:

Early volume cases did not specify which lower court the case came from, but that information is almost always available in the text of the case. The argument and decision dates did not appear in the first 107 volumes of the United States Reports, but most of that information is available from secondary sources (see here). stephen (talk) 18:57, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

After volume 107 then are the dates included in each case? Wikipedia is not good after volume 107 of including decision dates for cases. Wabbit98 talk 12:29pm (PST), 5 October 2010
fwiw... The dates & case No. also started to appear in the Lawyer's Editions around Vol. 17 (or ~ U.S reports vol 68/69). George Orwell III (talk) 19:41, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, starting with Volume 107, the files we are importing include dates.
Do you think it would be worthwhile to put a notice box (similar to {{Standardise}}) on cases that are missing text, footnotes, or in need of more wiki formatting? stephen (talk) 07:04, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
With this many cases imported but un-reviewd already I would think its obligatory. I'd like to see something less box-like but can't think of a better way at the moment than to mimic {{standardise}}. The question then moves back to what is the appropriate style-guide to follow in light of no scanned copy to work from. <shrug> George Orwell III (talk) 07:25, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is a draft box:
Here is how I think we should recommend verifying the text of a case. The preferred source is a scanned copy of the official reporter, linked in the "source" box in {{textinfo}} on the case's talk page. In the alternative, the text can be verified against a printed copy of the official reporter at our local law library. At a bare minimum, the text should be verified against the source at, but a verification against the official reporter (either scanned or at the library) should take precedence. We should avoid using openjurist to verify, since they seem to be just reusing the text from—I think you have already pointed out some errors common in both sources. We should also explain slip opinions and other parallel reporters, since that text may conflict with the official reporter. Overall, it will be difficult to verify cases where a scan of the official reporter is not available. This is the best approach I think of. Cheers, stephen (talk) 21:59, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
That will have to do for now I guess... as for the source - bigger questions come up for me. As far as I can tell, only the first 4 volumes actually have scans of the original reporter (Dallas I believe) the rest of cases on WS prior to BenchBot used a mix of available online sources, most of which are highly similar to what has. The only other readily available online source (that I can find) has been the HathiTrust Digital library's scans of the Lawyer's Editions ([6], [7], [8]). I've linked the corresponding Lawyer's Edition in the Notes section of the first 90 or so volumes of the U.S. Reports pages as a supplementary source already.
Without the benefit of comparing an actual original named reporter to one of these Lawyer Editions, I can't say with any certainty that the content is the exactly the same in both publications but it is better than blindly following in the same incorrect footsteps seems to have laid out for everybody else up to this point. George Orwell III (talk) 20:02, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
I just remembered that there are links to a good number of scans of the US Reports over at User:Spangineer/US_Reports. Perhaps we could set up a big table of sources, and figure out what volumes we have (US Reports, L. Ed.) and what volumes we are missing. Also, is it possible to download the sources from the HathlTrust? stephen (talk) 16:59, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Getting back to what differences there might be between the original named reporter (later renamed as a volume of the United States Reports/Reporter) and the Lawyer's Edition(s) believed to contain the same content as that original named reporter -- I took a peek at the BenchBot imported Parker v. United States, 26 U.S. 293 in both publications to see what can be learned.

  • The original named reporter citation is 1 Peters 293, the scanned page HERE (IA)
  • The Lawyer's Edition book citation is 7 L.Ed. 150, the scanned page HERE (HT)

Right off the bat, it should be stated that most everything hosted on Internet Archive under the mess that makes up the scans of the original named reporter volumes are in fact much later reprints of the originals, typically (re)published several decades later (see bottom of THIS page for what I've been seeing so far). I don't know if these reprints are just as good and of the quality as found in the original 1700's, 1800's or early 1900's publications or not but this "fact" about the IA scans should be at least noted.

As far as comparing the actual content from both publications to what we imported, nothing major between them raises any serious red flags. So far the only difference that I can find in the text content are of the paragraph break, italicised text, indentation and other minor layout type. George Orwell III (talk) 21:52, 15 October 2010 (UTC)


I just happen to re-fresh so I don't have the free time at the moment but.... If I remember right, most if not all, of Spangineer's list is the same Univ. of Michigan based copies of the Lawyer's Editions (the 4 volumes per book is a dead giveaway) as found on HathiTrust (as scammed by GoogleBooks at some point all around anyway). It's basically the same stuff although IA has saved the step of converting PDF to DJVU for some of them. HathiTrust has the bulk of the M.I.A. 200's & 300's - they are just poorly indexed & cataloged is all.
As far as downloading full PDF's from HathiTrust, I know there is some easy trick-syntax to DL the entire book - I added that "trick" to a bunch of CFR compilations over on the Executive Order project's sources. You can check there or wait until later today for me to get free and I'll figure it out the URLs for the HathiTrust links then. George Orwell III (talk) 17:58, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

← Started locating and compiling already -- see Portal:WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court cases/Sources.

Apparently a special kind of stupid exists on Internet Archive making identification of volumes far more complicated than it should be. 07:07, 15 October 2010 (UTC)



Well I've taken a crack at addressing the growing list of case opinions that should have been disambiguated weeks ago but were not for whatever reason(s) and I've come to a few conclusions/observations:

  1. Everybody needs to get on board with this and stop blowing by the obvious need to do some extra editing. We need to hunt down the offending plain case name opinion and move it to one that cites the U.S. Reporter as a suffix everytime we come across an opinion that already has such a U.S. Reporter disambiguted article in place.

    Redirecting to/away to another title only compounds the problem. 'Hiding' the need title with another listed title in a compound-interlink doesn't solve anything either. The remaining list is getting shorter as Bench Bot passes one milestone after another and the disambiguation issue is only going to get worse the longer it goes un-addressed. I've made myself more available to do this but I cannot do the task the justice it deserves by myself alone.

  2. How will it get worse? Not only will the same case name appear across the remaining Reporter volumes more and more but also several times within the same volume ~ different pages. We had our first real parallel-citation disambiguation ( 493 U.S. 906 ) and I imagine there are more waiting to be discovered. (How to track these either in the opinion itself or in the disambig page is something that needs to be discussed separately imho. (There are also rumblings of a metadata namespace that may also provide a solution for some of this rather than the old creating then tracking issues like this via catagories and junk.)
  3. Finally, if you don't want aspects of this project to fall under the "dictatorship" of the margin-marshalls, comma-cops, keyboard-commandos, rehabilitation-admistrators, etc., I suggest taking some time out from all this & actually participating in the various discussions almost always taking place in some fashion or another on en.WS concerning proposed changes in both policy and practice likely to come in the near future for WS.

    Speak out now so you might not have to bend over later.

Prost — George Orwell III (talk) 12:10, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

I guess stephen will have to address most of this, but I just wanted to throw one thing out there: I'd like to try to recruit more hands to this project so that we can both fix more issues like disambiguation and keep moving forward with importation. I'm going to hit up WP:Law on Wikipedia again, and reach out to some of the active users there. It would also be good to get people involved who are experienced with WS. Additionally, I'm going to take up your suggestion to check out more of the community discussions on WS. LegalSkeptic (talk) 17:38, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Well I'm under the assumption the case name lists are being edited manually at some point and what has been happening is opinions are getting named with the related Reporter page(s) concerning the amendment(s) to the opinions and not the opinion tself. I know BenchBot is only going get more confused -- mostly due to that rotten shit content everybody seems to love to regurgitate from -- as the reporters get more and more refined but its not that hard to pick out the problematic listings and just go look at the original (scans - see 315 U.S. 357, its Notes and the Reporter list for volume 315 for an example). If you go to the scans on the Trust all you need to do is plug in the page number(s) to see which ones are valid and which "doubles" or "similar" ones in the list are merely denials, typo corrections or flat out wrong altogether. — George Orwell III (talk) 18:22, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I've actually been doing most of the editing on case name lists lately, by editing the volume lists before BenchBot gets to them. Could you post a link to the Trust so that I can check out the scans? I'd be happy to have a more reliable source to use to fix case naming issues. LegalSkeptic (talk) 18:32, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
That's the list that should take you to the individual U.S. Reporter volumes well past Vol. 500 or so. There are quite a few other catalogs ( S.Ct. / L.Ed. / etc.) being tweaked and added to all the time but they are poorly named and spread out over other junk -- but you can pretty much find anything Law-ish on the Trust if you look hard enough. — George Orwell III (talk) 18:40, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Starting with Volume 325, BenchBot will add cases to Category:Automated disambiguation. We can use that list to fix the bad Reporter links. stephen (talk) 20:51, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
It's not that there are "bad" links - its the fact that U.S. Reports has reached a point in time where the opinions stop anywhere from page 600 to 900 (or so) and the back matter pretty much becomes dedicated to denying/granting this thing or that, making amendments to the original opinion and other such nuaunced material as it pertains to the opinion found in the first 600 pages or in a volume for the previous/following session. I'm not a lawyer so I know I'm botching the legal terms here but what seems to be going on is rather than placing the content where a ruling/opinion was suppose to go, it is getting placed where the follow-up action, as it relates to that original case, is being reported instead. BenchBot sees 2 or more U.S. Report citations and opts for the last one... or splits the material between the two page citations (just like the folks did before us). The frequent lack of a case No. to help differentiate the rulings & the orders from the case-opinions sure isn't helping matters either.
Also, I'm guessing some more template tweaking is needed too - seeing more and more submitted , ordered or amended dates than the usual argued & decided ones for starters. Maybe those need to be added parameters in CaseCaption moving forward.
The whole point with the dab was if you come across a case name list that are almost all red links save a handful that are already blue - you should add that name to an existing dab page if one exists Before You Rename the case's name to include the U.S. Reports or locate & move that plain case-name to one with a US Reports suffix so you can recover the plain case name for use as dab page -- adding both the moved case-name and/or the one originally "blue" as first found in the US Reports volume-list before moving on down the list.
If we don't, it either gets skipped until the same name comes up a third time later on or we go around querrying "what links here" for every existing dab page to see if anything has changed after every Bench Bot run. That's crazy. Wait until we're in 400's to add case-names and that becomes near impossible because one damn case has 8 entries (1 or 2 real opinions and 6 or 7 rulings in a volume approaching 1200+ pages at times). In the interim; the lists over on the Portal: namespace are also following the same pattern of skip, rename next; skip; rename next; so that any time I move a page to the right Reporter suffix or free up a plain case-name for use as a Dab - I've to go back a second time and fix what should never have been duplicated in the first place after correcting all the re-directs too boot. — George Orwell III (talk) 21:53, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
We can still use the automated disambiguation category as a list of dab pages to build/edit. If you don't want to do it by hand, BenchBot can make dab pages once it finishes importing case text. It might be useful if you document your workflow, so new comers can get involved. I will gladly lend a hand when I have a chance. stephen (talk) 06:17, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Input on U.S. Reports template[edit]

Hey guys, I was hoping to get some input on a new template I made for the United States Reports:


This is what it looks like in action. My intention is to make our case lists look more like the actual reporters (link goes to the volume I'm using as an example). The template allows for the inclusion of all the information on the title page of a U.S. Reports volume, then skips to the table of cases. I want to avoid making these pages unnecessarily bulky, so I figure that any information in between the title page and the table of cases (e.g., an announcement of a justice's retirement) should be added on a subpage, if anywhere. One thing that I am thinking of adding is the list of justices who are sitting on a given Court. LegalSkeptic (talk) 20:26, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

It looks fine but this will, hopefully one day, be replaced wit the transclusion of our own scans anyway, so I wouldn't go any further than that for now. The linking to the Trust's scans on the Talk page was a smart thing to do and couldn't have come at better time with the discussions on sources etc. begining to really heat up. Adding a single page mirroring the Justice list of the Reporter isn't optimal either right now. Bench Bot needs quickly finish up importing the lower quality case content so it can be brought up to a higher standard supported with scans sooner. Until then, it just doesn't make sense to start adding bits and pieces that wiould most likely need to be undone later. — George Orwell III (talk) 21:30, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I like that template, although it is a little big. Have you experimented with replacing {{header}} with something for US reports, similar to {{Potus-eo}}? stephen (talk) 00:57, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
You know, I was thinking of integrating it into the template somehow, but I've never really messed around with the executive orders much, so I didn't know there was a good example like that. I'm going to play around with it and see what I can come up with. LegalSkeptic (talk) 01:27, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Okay, so I have two alternatives now:
- the first template I made, {{USRcov‎}}, which is placed below the header and is bulky, but meant to look more like a scan (see Volume 284);
- the new {{USHeader}}, which replaces the ordinary header with a unique one. It contains all the information that the previous template contained, but in a more compact and sleek form (see Volume 300). I'm not very good with the template wikicode - if someone could fix the documentation so that it appears, that would rock.
Which is preferable? LegalSkeptic (talk) 02:55, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


Ooops... I guess I thought I had replied to this when it was first posted but in reality I had forgotten to reply and now I'm here, hat-in-hand, with an update.

In reponse some actual growth in user activity of late within and/or around this project's basic domain, I've started moving all the United States Reports related templates as subpages under a base USReports page. The cover page template mentioned above is now {{USRcov}} [short for U.S. Reports mock cover page] and all those current pages using {{USReports}} will need to be swapped to the new naming scheme. I will ask a BOT to address the 40 or so pages using the cover page template if nobody has the time to do it on their own in a week or two.

Though we didn't really talk about the need for one before, I've created an in-line U.S. Reports template for use both within and outside of this project to link the reporters (Supreme Court) citation with/out the casename. Check out {{USRin}} [short for U.S. Reports in-line wikilink] in a day or two for the missing documentation on usage, etc. -- George Orwell III (talk) 00:53, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Style update and some discussion points[edit]

With our more recent efforts to move works to the Portal: namespace drawing to a close, I am now starting to look to the large bulk of works that exist courtesy of this project. While making the change over to portal(s), I am also doing an update and refresh on the headers to bring them up-to-date with the additions in {{header}}. Can I also ask that you look to ensure that when adding new works that we use the modern styles, and review some of the more recent additions for the project. An example of a recent cleanup that I have done is this. While there I would also like to a couple of other things that have cropped up.

  • I would also like to discuss the template {{USSCcase}} and its default ON setting for Wikipedia, and the occasional use of {{wikipediaref}}. With the addition of the | wikipedia = ... parameter within {{header}} it is no longer necessary.
    • The 'bot' run import & article creation always sets this value to "no" (disabling the separate nav-box Wikipedia link). Only preexisting case opinions or those recently created by stragglers are the likely reasons you still find that parameter still in use. -- George Orwell III (talk) 03:26, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
  • The community approach has been to look to standardise the lead reference to wikipedia articles to be through the header parameters and then to have relevant standard wikilinks through the works. It would be great if there was the ability to review the project's approach and see if we can align with the additions made across the whole site.
    • Oppose- If I had it my way, they would have moved to a unique U.S. court case header first rather than planning on developing one after uploading the remaining 100 or so U.S. Reporter volumes and the court opinions, etc. in each before swapping out {{header}} (or at least buffer the call to it with a dedicated redirect name or something on the way to calling it). I was in the minority then and will most likely be in the minority this coming time around too. Still, I will attempt to address your concerns, in light of the fact most "regulars" are away on vacation or dealing with meat-space studies, etc. I probably won't be able to satisfy your apparent urgency in "dealing" with this category or some dynamic list the way you had hoped - but having me ramble on is better than no reply at all, right? ;)
If I may be so forward and with ample apologies in advance, "your" whole "problem" with these type of works, is that you've had little to no exposure to the American legal system overall and even less in dealing with the current state of general-mess the various publically available American legal resources are in. While it may seem to you like you are making the area better by standardizing its presentation to "fit" along side a kids novel or have it link back to some long existing Wikipedia project proper, all you are doing is insuring is the continued underuse of the WS resources in this general area and further compounding the mis- or (dare a say it; dis- )information regarding the current WP works previously created or based on a time when access to such legal libraries was limited to the higher academia or by considerable monthly subscription fee (i.e a whole lot of subjective or inaccurate bullsh!t). Putting aside the landmark court opinions or the familiar & historic legislative acts for second and focusing just on the remaining 90% that led to those highpoints in American law with methodical revisions sometimes made one sentence at a time every decade or so and maybe you can understand the picture of the problem I've tried to paint. All you would be doing legitimizing the already unverified with another layer of association that may or not be even remotely relevant let alone accurate.
Frankly, the "problem", as it was, as it stands today and as it will surely be in the future judging by the community's past behavior is the lack of meaningful citation enabled navigation across a dozen or more two-century-old ongoing collections/series, published by the various branches/agencies of the Federal Government that only becomes useful to the typical Wikipedian reader if they are properly cited, cross referenced whenever applicable/possible and tied together under a rather complex flow chart of disambiguation and intentional duplication. Until that deficiency is addressed first, you can automate one thing or the other under the guise of it adding value and increasing the integrity of WS hosted legal content all you like but the truth will be that its nothing more than housekeeping for the sake housekeeping and little else in its current state.
Believe me when I say nobody here wants to use those gawd awful navboxes or force the formatting of transcluded content to overcome the less-than-friendly dynamic layout but until there is some other dedicated way or space reserved to host that type of info, super-repetitive layout or navigate in and out of the citation branches with ease in addition to the current main header template scheme being developed or under a separate notes-type template still somewhere under that main navigation feature, you're just wasting your time. -- George Orwell III (talk) 03:26, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Use of [[Category:YYYY court decisions]]. I feel that it is quite appropriate to cluster these into the one category, and have that category subsidiary to [[Category:YYYY works]]. There has been examples where the year parameter has been used or the resultant category manually added. Firstly, I don't see that it is necessary, and secondly, is there an omission from the docs to indicate how we categorise. Of course, this may be a more relevant point at Wikisource:WikiProject Law.

Thanks. — billinghurst sDrewth 01:11, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

    • I believe something along those lines was to be the eventual "plan" anyway so this isn't objectionable afaik. The only reason the year parameter has come into play recently is a.) more and more cases in the lower courts are becoming relevant to the eventual ruling given by the Supreme Court's decisions upon appeals or in review (it was quick way to differentiate one case to another with the same/similar case names using the date), and b.) was done in error up until today in part when I figured out it was that same stupid header template, used in DAB situations, that was adding case-disambiguation names/pages to the undated works category unnecessarily. -- George Orwell III (talk) 03:26, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
I am not against working to an even better solution, and I am surely not here to dictate. I had been hoping to raise a discussion, and when I look at the history/age of the works and the participants, it is not the crew who hang out in some of more central and general discussions. Easier for me to say, "hey guys! here is what we are doing in other parts of this space, where to from here?" which is what why I was trying to undertake. If what has happened in our generic changes has had an impact here, then it has not been brought to attention or maybe it hasn't wormed its way to my grey matter. — billinghurst sDrewth 06:35, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Melville Fuller[edit]

I found Melville Fuller's base author page originally named "Melvin Fuller" and about half the case pages link to this and need to be changed to "Melville Fuller". Seems like a job for a bot, which is not something I do. I have changed the base author page to "Melville Weston Fuller". I am impressed by the portal page on the Fuller Court, and certainly all the author pages should link to the respective portal pages where they exist. I did this for Fuller. It was not as simple as setting the "portal" parameter of the {{Author}} template, and I put it in the "description" field. So I plan to work on the author pages a bit. Successor and predecessor links would be handy, as is done with U.S. presidents. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 22:53, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

Instead of using the description field for the "see also", I have decided to do the usual Wikipedia think, and have a single internal link in a special "See also" section of the author page. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 15:21, 4 May 2012 (UTC)