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What Were Google’s Most Searched Legal Phrases in 2018?


Early in December, Google releases its annual “Year in Search” report based on numerous topics. They rarely fail to disappoint, and 2018’s most-searched legal phrases were certainly awkward enough to give us a moment of hesitation. Newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh managed to steal a bit of the fame, ranking number six for most searched news topics, and number three for most searched people.

In fact, it was a popular year in search for sexual assault and harassment.

The aggregate collection of all search terms related to the Kavanaugh confirmation took the “Criminal Law” top five spots, in addition to numbers nine and ten. These included searches on his confirmation hearings and the long-lasting testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who was another top contender for most searched name because of her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades earlier when the two attended high school together.

Bill Cosby was another popular figure, stealing “Criminal Law” spots six, seven, and eight because of his own fight against sexual assault allegations. He was found guilty and sentenced to a decade in prison in 2018.

Apparently, most of us are a little light-headed when it comes to the definition of “racketeering,” which was a highly searched legal term in wake of rapper 6ix9ine’s arrest and subsequent racketeering charges.

The Bill of Rights and Constitutional amendments were also popular subjects of search in 2018. The 13th was popularized due to Netflix’s documentary detailing incarceration and stole the second and third spots in the “Legal” category. The 14th amendment stole the fifth-place spot, perhaps in part due to the Florida high school shooting that led to a lawsuit which was based on the amendment. The number one spot was taken by “product recall.”

Now unpopular lawyer Aaron M. Schlossberg gained a 4,250 percent increase in notoriety from 2017 to 2018 because of his infamous racist rant. It went viral, and so did his name in the “Legal Services” category.

“Posse Comitatus” was a popular phrase after Trump redirected thousands of our soldiers to the Mexican border, an order which some news outlets found could violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the use of military in matters that are normally handled by ordinary law enforcement.

Perhaps it’s a mistake, but oddly enough The Voice‘s Britton Buchanan snagged the number one spot in the “Accident and Personal Injury Law” category. It makes no sense, though, because the singer didn’t have any legal woes in 2018.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.

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