A human-centric approach to the Fastcase Public API, originally built by @vdavez with substantial contributions of @TalkingQuickly and @adelevie.

What is this?

Fastcase recently disclosed that it has a public API for any member of the public to see a reported judicial opinion without going behind the paywall. This is a breakthrough.

The API requires a user to set headers and pass a data object. This is good, but I'm lazy and just want to work from the browser's address bar. So, I built a human-centric wrapper around the API.


The permafrast API responds to both html and json requests. E.g:

The html response gives a clickable link with the full citation for the opinion. The json response gives a json object associated with the opinion.

For both endpoints, you must pass three parameters associated with a reported judicial opinion:

  1. The volume of the reporter (an integer)
  2. The reporter abbreviation (e.g., U.S.)
  3. The starting page of the opinion (an integer)

So, For example, see or

Full text

By default, HTML routes will display the full text of the citation. For JSON routes, you can add ?fulltext=true to the URL. Example

Source Code and Contributions

Build Status

The source code for permafrast is available at Please feel free to submit PRs or open issues.



In development SQLite is used, use bundle exec rake db:create && db:migrate to create it.


You can easily run your own instance of Permafrast.

  1. Clone the repo.
  2. cp .env.example .env.
  3. Add your Fastcase API key to .env. If you don't have one, tweet to Josh Auriemma.
  4. Run bundle.
  5. Run the server locally with bundle exec rackup -p 4567.
  6. Run tests with bundle exec rspec