Despite popular belief in Silicon Valley, there are many different ways to fund the design, development, deployment, and operation of valuable API resources. Not all APIs are destined to be the next Amazon, Twitter, or even Twilio. Some APIs just need exist, be available, and will never be a revenue engine--one of these APIs is the Court Listener API.
Version 3.0 of the Court Listener API possesses 15 valuable endpoints, providing access to courts, dockets, opinions, people, sources, ratings, and other details about how laws are made in the United States. With their latest release containing a comprehensive database of judges and the judiciary, to be linked to Court Listener’s corpus of legal opinions authored by those judges.
Increasingly APIs like Court Listener, and the Human Services Data Specification (HSDS) API, are capturing my attention. These types of APIs represent the type of impact I'm looking to make using APIs, going beyond what APIs can do for a single application or industry, but what they can do for wider sections of our society. Focusing on getting agile, nimble, and more efficient in how craft laws in our country, and how we make sure people are fed, and find the government services they need in their life.
The Court Listener API depends on grants, and donations to operate, which is an approach I will be showcasing more when it applies to APIs that deliver valuable human, civic, and research related resources. APIs like the Court Listener API provide an important window into how our local, state, and federal judicial system is operating (or not), and will need our financial support to do what they do. Which I think is a very viable approach to designing, deploying, and operating APis -- that is, if we all step up and support these efforts.