You need to know whether the case you are reading is good law. That’s why we released our "SmartCite" Citator, which uses cutting-edge natural language processing and extensive human review to classify the treatment of cases. As described below, SmartCite uses red flags to indicate that a case is no longer good law and orange flags to warn you that a case may be relying on potentially bad law.
A red flag indicates a case that is no longer good law because it has been reversed, overruled, vacated, withdrawn or superseded in whole or in part. When you see a red flag, you can click on that flag to see how your case has been negatively treated on appeal.
As shown in the example below, United States v. Halper, 490 U.S. 435 (1989) is no longer good law because the red flag indicates that it was overruled by Hudson v. United States, 522 U.S. 93 (1997):
An orange flag is used to identify a case that relies on an earlier case that was overruled or reversed after the date of your case. A case with an orange flag has not been overruled, but because it relies heavily on bad law, there is a high risk that this case may be overruled in the future. An example of a case with an orange flag is provided below. To see why your case has an orange flag, click on the flag, and you'll see the link to the overruled case cited by your case:
So, if a case does not have any orange or red flags, is that case good law?
If a case says "Not overruled or negatively treated on appeal," that means that the case was checked by SmartCite and no negative history was found. That case is considered to be good law. You can look beneath the title of a case to see whether that case was reviewed by SmartCite:
However, SmartCite does not cover unreported cases, state trial court decisions, or courts of limited jurisdiction, such as administrative courts. Cases that are not covered by SmartCite contain text below the title stating, "This case is not covered by Casetext's citator." If a case says that is not covered by Casetext's SmartCite citator, you should not interpret the absence of red or orange flags to mean that the case is good law.
While Casetext makes every effort to ensure that its SmartCite flags are accurate, please note that no case citator is perfect. SmartCite is intended to help attorneys determine whether a case is good law, but it is not intended to replace an attorney's review or judgment.
For more information on SmartCite, please see "Can I see how a case has been treated on appeal?" and "Can I see how one case has been cited by other cases?"