Short Circuit is your concise (and sometimes irreverent) source for important and interesting cases and legal stories you might otherwise have missed. Launched by the Institute for Justice (IJ) in 2015, Short Circuit started off as a short weekly newsletter rounding up the most interesting developments in the federal circuit courts of appeal. Today, Short Circuit includes more than just our popular weekly newsletter: we host a bi-weekly Short Circuit podcast, we regularly tweet out entertaining summaries of state constitutional history, and we produce a longform podcast series. Learn more about each of these below, and see what others are saying about Short Circuit.

short circuit Newsletter 

Each week, IJ scours the federal court dockets for the most interesting and important appeals court opinions addressing individual liberty. Every Friday afternoon, we share short, easy-to-understand descriptions of the most interesting federal appellate cases in our newsletter.

Among the newsletter’s more than 3,000 subscribers are some of the leading thinkers of our day, including judges, columnists, reporters, lawyers and top law professors—not to mention law students and others interested in following the goings-on of the federal courts.

Why does Short Circuit focus on the opinions of the federal courts of appeal? Each year, the Supreme Court decides about 80 cases. Compare that to the 6,000 cases published by federal appeals courts last year alone. For the overwhelming majority of litigants in federal courts, the lower federal appeals courts are the final stop in their cases.

Short Circuit fans keep coming back for more because they trust that IJ staff will read every single federal appeals court opinion and report on the 20 or so most important cases of the week with engaging, efficient summaries. Over the past two years, Short Circuit has reported on more than 2,000 federal appeals court cases.

Keeping current on our courts does not have to be time consuming and it does not have to be boring: It just requires Short Circuit. 

Short Circuit Podcast

Liven up your commute by subscribing to our weekly podcast, where IJ lawyers and guests break down the latest developments in the federal circuit courts. IJ’s Short Circuit podcast features rapid-fire commentary and legal analysis of several noteworthy cases. Each episode is hosted by IJ’s John K. Ross, and features IJ lawyers and other guests talking about interesting and important legal developments in the federal courts. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Bound By Oath Podcast

Our podcast series taking a deeper dive into different angles of the Constitution. Starting with the 14th Amendment, in Season 1 and 2, and now in Season 3 are exploring how every right needs a remedy (and how often the courts have made sure there isn’t one). Your guide on this adventure is Short Circuit’s Editor, John Ross.


Did you know every state gets its own constitution? For 50 weeks we highlightinged each of our 50 states’ own constitutions and constitutional histories. The summaries were provided through the medium of our age: Twitter threads with lots of gifs. Not on Twitter? Then just read the archive of the threads here. Posted by the Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement, Anthony Sanders, tweeting at @IJSanders, with massive support from IJ’s Judicial Engagement Fellow, Adam Shelton.

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Short Circuit Team

Anthony Sanders
Director of the Center for Judicial Engagement
John Ross
Editor and Producer, Short Circuit