Texas effectively denies open access to state law
By Kristopher A. Nelson
in June 2009
300 words / 2 min.
Tweet Share A recent change to the Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure gives “memorandum” opinions full precedential value - but those opinions are currently only accessible through the very expensive Westlaw or LexisNexis.
Please note that this post is from 2009. Evaluate with care and in light of later events.
According to the Advocate’s Studio, a recent change to the Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure gives “memorandum” opinions full precedential value – but those opinions are currently only accessible through the very expensive Westlaw or LexisNexis:
Hey, Texas! What’s up with this move to lock the law behind a very expensive toll booth? If the Texas legislature insists that memorandum opinions are binding, then the Texas legislature better figure out a way to open access to them. In an age when information is moving steadily towards free and open source, this short-sighted procedural move seems more than a little backward. I suppose the next move is to require lawyers to ride to court on buckboard.
The general trend, building on similar approaches in scientific publishing as well as open-source software, has been to open up access to legal opinions. The goal is to make the law – an absolutely fundamental part of society – more accessible to the public. It is, to borrow from a rather different context, rather like allowing people to read the Bible in their own language, rather than requiring to go to a priest trained in Latin.
Hopefully, the Texas example is the exception to the trend away from proprietary lock-in, and not an indication that we are moving backwards.
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