Maybe I am behind the times or a visionary, but if my web developing skills were of a level where I could design a search engine, I would. I would a design a search engine specific to the laws of the land. Then, individuals like you and I who are literate with access to the internet could go to my search engine and research all things law-related. You could look up the legal code governing our financial industry to the different criteria required to constitute a felony in California versus that of New York. You could compare tenant law in New York City to tenant rights’ law in Berkeley. Or you could simply enter your address and look at the relevant legal code protecting the rivers in your jurisdiction. And, then you could look up the layman’s interpretation of those laws you just looked up. And then, you could look up stuff like bar exams, law reviews, articles about the law, video of cases to follow in real-time (imagine following Judge Sotomayor’s first year!) or the archived video, blogs about the law like Glenn Greenwald‘s on Salon.com, and the case-law that created that particular legislation: “Oh, so that’s why we can’t walk across Route 9 with an open container!” And, there would be a section for military law.
And, there would be an international section! International Law of the Seas, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everything one would need to know about the Nuremberg trials, or Mexican legal code and explanations about the differences between them, or why Venezuela has had 20+ constitutions since its inception and copies of all those, etc. And, the history of all that, and much more! It would be a monumental project, but incredibly informative and necessary to be a responsible enfranchised citizen. And, transparent. The government would never be able to slip anything by us, ever. We, citizens, would be empowered.
It would be beautiful because it would be true democracy.
In the meantime, Google has some version of my long-held vision (Just one more reason why I am positive my phone calls are tapped and my house is bugged because all my wonderful ideas suddenly appear after I voice them aloud). I don’t know how long it’s been there or hasn’t been there, but it’s there. Under, the Google Scholar link, there’s an announcement of the new beta version of their blog that has instructions to finding the laws that govern us. Basically, you can search using a topic (ex: prostitution) or the case name (, and then click the button at the bottom that says legal opinions and journals and you’re off!
Google is out to save us all.