FDSys Opinions Indexed by Google

It appears that court opinions in FDSys are being indexed by the search engines now. If you’ll recall, the GPO announced last year that it was importing opinions from some federal courts into its centralized database (FDSys). In theory, this means that users would be able to search across a large collection of government documents that will now include published court opinions.

FDSys now contains opinions from 28 federal courts, including 3 Circuit Courts of Appeal (the 2nd, 8th, and 10th). I am happy to see that these are now indexed by Google, so the opinions will appear among search results when individuals search the web. It’s one step closer to aggregating this information in one central location.

Of course, FDSys is still very limited. It’s only pulling opinions from a few courts, and it doesn’t seem to be up to date. I searched for a case from October (Windsor v. United States), and could not find anything. The GPO announced last year that its funding was cut, so this program may be stalled.

FDSys archives only slip opinions, which you cannot cite to once the official opinion is published.  While many of the documents are”authentic” and “digitally signed” by the GPO’s definition, they do not meet the standards for citation imposed by the courts.