Pending Appellate Cases and the CTA-BRIEF Database:
A few weeks ago, I blogged about amending the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to require appellants to state "questions presented" early on in the appellate process so potential amici and commentators could weigh in. The comment thread suggested that I am pretty much alone in liking the idea.

  Fortunately, I've come across a better-than-expected substitute: Westlaw's CTA-BRIEF database. I don't know how comprehensive it is, and it looks like it takes a few weeks before filed briefs show up in it, but the database lets you run text-searchable queries for appellate briefs citing particular statutes, cases, phrases, or combination thereof. It's a pretty cool service: If you run queries with a date restriction of the last few months you end up with briefs filed in cases not yet decided. Plus, a WESTCLIP request can direct Westlaw to e-mail any briefs that satisfy your query when they enter the database.

  Among other things, this will let me blog about interesting pending cases rather than decisions already out. I hope to have the first such post on a very interesting Ninth Circuit case argued in October about the Fourth Amendment and text messages. Meanwhile, check out the CTA-BRIEF database if you're interested — it's pretty cool.