In 2012 #SCOTUS killed the hack to download opinions a few seconds early

June 30th, 2014

Way back in 2010 and 2011, there was a “hack” to view Supreme Court opinions a few seconds early.

During OT 2009 and OT 2010, all of the PDFs for opinions were named as their docket numbers. For example, McDonald v. Chicago was Docket Number 08-1521. So the PDF was at It was easy enough to figure out in advance the links for the opinions, especially at the end of June when I knew which opinions were left.

Starting at 10:00 a.m., I would type in the anticipated URLs, and reload nonstop. I found that I was able to get the PDFs before they were even listed on the slip opinion page, and well before SCOTUSBlog had it. Sometimes it was even a minute early. This worked a number of times, especially at the end of the term when I knew what opinions were coming down.

This hack worked in OT 2010 as well. But, in OT 2011 the Supreme Court plugged that hole for some cases.

For example, NFIB v. Seblius had the docket number of 11-393. But rather than naming the PDF 11-393.pdf, it was now What is “a2,” the string that follows the docket number? I suspect it is part of some naming convention that I can’t quite figure out. However, the naming scheme killed this hack. These modified file names made it effectively impossible to glance at the opinions early. But, even in OT 2011 some cases still had the traditional naming scheme. Arizona v. United States, with docket number 11-182, had the filename

By OT 2012, all of the PDFs now have a series of numbers and letters appended to the filename. The hack is long dead.

So, it will not be feasible to reload (Hobby Lobby).

Happy #SCOTUS day everyone!