Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Oath - "So Help Me God"

The DC District Court did not enjoin the use of the phrase "So Help Me God" when Barack Obama took the oath of office yesterday. Here's the Washington Post story from last Friday. But these stories about legal events are often unsatisfying. What was the actual language of the order; on what grounds did Judge Walton decide the case?

Current Federal District Court filings are generally available through PACER. Documents are filed electronically with the Court using the federal ECM (Electronic Case Management) system. You have to register and set up an account to download documents via PACER.

But, is posting the docket sheets and documents from noteworthy filings, i.e., cases like Newdow v. Roberts. And, here’s the docket sheet for that case. Just scroll to the bottom to find the link to Judge Walton’s order (document #42) denying Newdow’s request for an injunction.

This is not a perfect system. The order, while posted on PACER on Friday, January 16th, did not make it onto the Justicia site until Tuesday, January 20th. Still, Justicia is performing a real public service by making these materials available. And, you can set up an RSS feed to their site so you can check on the progress of the case.

For researchers, check out documents #12 and #13. These memorandums do a pretty good job of setting out the state of the law concerning preliminary injunctions.

No comments: