The MLZ styles rely on a
urn:lex-like scheme for specifying the jurisdiction of primary legal materials. We will need to have at least a minimal set of jurisdction codes in place for the styles to be functional. The scheme to be used for this purpose is the subject of this post.
urn:lex scheme is used in MLZ for the limited purpose of identifying jurisdictional scope: it is not a full document identifier, and does not carry information on the issuing institution itself. Even within this limited scope, the MLZ scheme diverges from the examples provided by the Cornell LII Lexcraft pages, in that the “federal” level is expressed as a geographic scope (set off by a semicolon), rather than as a distinct category of jurisdiction (appended by a period).
This difference in treatment is due to pedestrian parsing concerns, rather than any ontological view of the position of the US Federal layer of government. The
urn:lex scheme allows the use of domain names to specify international organizations, which (as domain names) are delimited by periods. In parsing, the split required to obtain “us” as the top-level jurisdiction of “us.federal” would also yield “un” as the top-level jurisdiction of (say) “un.org”. While this does not appear to cause any immediate conflicts, such a split does lose information from the domain name, and given the international scope of the MLZ project, there is a potential for namespace overlap down the road. Accordingly, a semi-colon delimiter is used to distinguish Federal from state jurisdiction at the top level.
Top-level Federal (Supreme Court, Congress, national administrative bodies)
Federal District (single district within state)
Federal District (multiple districts within state)
A preliminary list of identifiers is available for review.
Note: The tentative CSV sample has been withdrawn. Please refer instead to the JSON file now hosted on GitHub.
I cheerfully await feedback and rotten tomatoes.
(Update 2012-07-15: Jurisdiction data based on this scheme is included in abbreviation lists now available for use with the Abbreviations Plugin and the Wisconsin Court Style.)
(Update 2012-08-01: Abbreviation lists for all styles are now available.)