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District courts are not precedential. Not even appellate cases from another circuit are binding. Judges do not routinely cite other district judges when there is circuit law available. There is nothing wrong with using Pacer to learn about how motions are drafted and to take advantage of someone else's legal research. You can also examine case files for free at the courthouse or even the Federal Archives. Copies are expensive, but that's another story. You can stand by what you wrote but you have made a layman's mistake which is easily corrected. You should do so.


"Courts within a given District and Circuit are bound by precedents within their own Districts and Circuits, respectively."



I'm pretty sure I didn't make a mistake here.

In reverse order: Google Scholar does not have district court decisions, but these decisions are not precedential. Some, but not all of these, are published in the Federal Supplement series by Thomson-West. Most circuit decisions (but not all) are published in the Federal Reporter. "DO NOT PUBLISH" opinions are subject to special rules in each circuit.

The decision of one district judge does not bind another district judge in the same district. In the Mariel Boatlift cases, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida sat en banc precisely to avoid the problem of inconsistent decisions.

The decisions of one federal appellate circuit are not binding on other federal circuits. There are frequently conflicts, even amongst panels of the same circuit. These are first resolved by the circuit court sitting en banc to resolve the conflict. If there are conflicts among the circuits, these are resolved by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is not obligated to take these cases and sometimes the conflict is resolved by Congress passing legislation adopting one circuit court's view over another.

These are ancillary and non-essential points to your main argument, but are easily corrected. Pacer can be made better, (criminal cases are generally not included; why?) but lawyers simply do not need Pacer to research substantive or procedural federal law.

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