The Court is now taking steps to address link rot. “Link rot” refers to the removal of or changes to cited materials which render the citations unusable or unreliable. The Supreme Court policy cited a study “Something Rotten in the State of Legal Citation.” by two librarians from the John Marshall School of Law, Raizel Liebler and June Liebert. The study noted: “It is disturbing that even at the Supreme Court, where creating and
citing precedent is of the utmost importance, citations often fail to
point the researcher to the authority on which the court based its
decision.” According to the study 29% of the internet citations in US Supreme Court opinions written between 1996 and 2011 were broken. Liebert who was previously the CIO at John Marshall School of Law, is now the Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services at Amlaw 100 firm, SidleyAustin.
The US Supreme Court has now created a new page “Internet Sources Cited in Opinions.” The Court will provide a list of all internet sources cited during the term. The link will include an image of the page as it existed at the time it was cited.
Librarian Cited in ACA Opinion King v Burwell
Back in June, Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion in King v Burwell which cited a scholarly article, “A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History,”
written by John Canaan, Research and Instructional Services Librarian , at Drexel University School of Law. The Robert’s opinion cited Canaan’s observation
that the drafting of the ACA strayed from “the traditional legislative process” because Congress wrote key portions of
the Affordable Care Act behind closed doors.