Liam Draper gives us his thoughts on the Oyez Today app from the Chicago–Kent College of Law.
Oyez Today is an application available on Android and iPhone smartphone devices. The app is a handy tool which allows you to access information on the Supreme Court of the United States.
So, whether you are without access to a legal database and want to brush up on a recently decided case, whether you have a passing interest in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States or whether you’re a Supreme Court enthusiast, this application will give you quick access to whatever information you’re looking for.
The application builds off the extensive work already done by the Oyez Project, providing users access to summaries of cases in various stages of the appellate process, access to the biographies of Supreme Court justices and the ability to listen to the oral arguments of the court or the announcement of the opinion. The ability to ‘favourite’ cases in order to keep track of them is handy and is easier than having to sift through a larger list of cases from the cases tab to find the one you want.
The application is free and does not take long to download from the Google Play Store. When you open up the app, generally speaking it will update the cases that are before the court. You can organise them either alphabetically or by date. On my home wireless connection I experienced no issues with downloading and listening to either oral arguments of cases or the announcement of opinions. Helpfully there was even text for me to follow, just in case I misheard a word or was interrupted for any reason, which mirrors the experience you get when you log on to the Oyez Project website itself.
My only criticism about the app is that it only gives access to cases in the current term and the previous two terms. If I wanted to brush up on Roe v. Wade from 1972, the app would not permit me to do this. By virtue of operating either an Android phone or iPhone, however, the user can open the Oyez Project website to access this information via the web browser. The Oyez Project itself has summaries and transcripts of cases going back to the 1700s, and over 5,000 hours of audio from 1981–2007 and a selection of pre-1980 cases to access for free. It’s a small complaint, but given that the app is Version 1.1.1 there is always the hope that the app will expand its library of cases and media.