New Database of Civil Rights Court Records Available

Washington University in St. Louis has created a new database of materials related to civil rights courts cases, including settlements, court orders, opinions, and case study research. The “Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse” contains documents related to over 1,000 cases and is available at .

The cases are divided into categories including child welfare, immigration, election/voting rights, public housing, and school desegregation. The about page for the site notes that the cases covered in the database are those which seek policy or operational change, not monetary damages. You can browse by the case categories from the front page, or use the search page to search by a variety of factors, including case name, case type, state, and institution name.

I did a case name search for smith. I got 14 results covering a variety of categories. The search results page includes case name, docket number and court, date of filing and whether the case is closed or not, and whether the coding for the case is complete (which I guess means if it’s been totally put on the site.) Click on the name of the case and you’ll get a huge detail page.

Smith v. Bounds, for example, contains an extensive case study, pointers to general documents, names of people involved in the case, pointers to related cases (in this case none), and a summary list of case information. If you have an account with the site (it’s free) you can save cases and documents.

In addition to the case information and searching, the site also has a brief FAQ as well as a brief list of Clearinghouse-related articles. Visitors and researchers are invited to suggest cases or even entire case categories. Lots of information here.

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