Supreme Court Seminar Research Guide
Hyla Bondareff, Research Services Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Washington University School of Law Library
Room 455H, 935-6434, firstname.lastname@example.org
As all first years learn, United States Supreme Court opinions are published in the following reporters: officially in United States Reports (U.S.); Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.); and Lawyer's Edition (L. Ed.). All three reporters are available in the Law Library's Reading Room. An additional copy of United States Reports and Supreme Court Reporter is available on the 5th floor, Federal Materials section. Opinions are first published in United States Law Week (U.S.L.W.) on Reserve at KF8741.A75 U54 and then in the advance sheets for the above reporters (United States Reports and Supreme Court Reporter advance sheets are on Reserve).
Supreme Court opinions are indexed in the United States Supreme Court Digest and West's Federal Practice Digest, available in the Reading Room and the U.S. Supreme Court Digest, Lawyers' Edition, on the 5th floor.
Additionally, in recent times opinions are available via many web sites. See below.
Finding Supreme Court Opinions (In Electronic Form)
Browsing the U.S. Reports:
Current term: 1999-2000 Decisions - By Month (Cornell LII)
Prior term: 1998-1999 Decisions -By Month (Cornell LII)
Current term: 1999 Orders Search Form (Cornell LII)
Prior term: 1998-current Orders (Cornell LII)
By volume: v.150 U.S. Reports-Present
By year: 1893-Present
e.g. 410 U.S. 113
Party Name Search
Enter one party's name, e.g. Miranda
Full-Text SearchCourtesy of FindLaw
Other Sources for Supreme Court Opinions
- Cornell Legal Information Institute
- Law Journal Extra
- FedWorld/FLITE Supreme Court Decisions
FedWorld: 1937 - 1975
- The United States Supreme Court 1992 - 1999
- Selected Historic Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court
Pre-1990 from Cornell LII
Supreme Court Cases after 1944 (SCT)
Supreme Court Cases before 1945 (SCT-OLD)
US Supreme Court Lawyers' Edition Cases - January 1790 through current
Other Information About the Court
- Oral Aguments
- Hear an actual oral argument: Oyez Oyez Oyez: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database
- May it Please the Court: 23 Live Recordings of Landmark Cases as Argued Before the Supreme Court (Six audio cassettes, Reserve, KF4748 .M39)
- Westlaw (SCT-ORALARG) - Official transcripts of oral arguments from the Court's 1990-91 term to current. Lexis From October 1, 1979 through current.
- List of opinions from 1955 to 1993 with significant oral arguments from the Supreme Court Historical Society.
- Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States: Constitutional Law (Reading Room, KF101.95 .K8).
- Westlaw (SCT-BRIEF) Merits Briefs 1990-91 Term to the present. Amicus briefs 1995-96 term to current.
- Lexis From January 1979 through current
- Findlaw Constitutional Law Center - 1999-2006 term.
- Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States: Constitutional Law (KF101.95 .K8).
- Information about the Justices: Oyez Oyez Oyez; Cornell LII - Supreme Court Justices; or the Federal Judicial Center
- Supreme Court Scotus Blog
- U.S. Constitution, with Annotations of Cases Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court
- Rules of the U.S. Supreme Court:
Adopted January 11, 1999. Effective May 3, 1999
- Preview of Supreme Court Cases - Lexis (PRE-VU) and Westlaw (SCT-PREVIEW). Summaries and analysis of cases being argued before the Court from the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association.
Should you need, here is a very brief reminder of where to find codified federal statutes. If you have a citation, it will be to either the United States Code (USC), the United States Code Annotated (USCA), or the United States Code Service (USCS). The United States Code is the official publication, the other two are commercial publications and are updated more frequently. All are available in the Reading Room. Please ask a Reference Librarian if you need help.
If you want to research the legislative history of a statute, see the Brief Legislative History Research Guide or ask a Reference Librarian.
Several options exist for locating law review articles. You may search LegalTrac or Index to Legal Periodicals (these links will only be active when launched from a computer within the Washington University School of Law).
Current (unbound) journals owned by the Law Library are kept on Reserve. Bound periodicals are shelved alphabetically on the 5th floor.
You may also search the same indexes on Westlaw Legal Resource Index (LRI) or Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP); or on Lexis in the "Legal Resource Index" database or the "Index to Legal Periodicals" database. Articles contained in journals not available on the WU Hilltop campus may be available via Interlibrary Loan.
You might also find articles about cases currently before the Court in U.S. Law Week (on Reserve at KF8741.A75 U54) or in subject specific newsletters or loose-leaf treatises. U.S. Law Week has short annotations about cases on the Court's docket and sometimes also has longer articles. Many loose-leaf treatises have accompanying newsletters or current reports sections which may discuss cases before the Court. To find one on a particular topic, use the online catalog (see below) or ask a librarian for help.
Books: Search Online Catalogs
Use these sources to find books or journal titles. First check the Law Library and WU Hilltop Libraries' catalogs. For more materials, check the Missouri Research Libraries - Mobius. To look for materials available in other libraries, please use WorldCat. To obtain materials not available on campus or via Mobius, you will need to request the item via Interlibrary Loan. Please use the online form (at /library/pages.aspx?id=1138). Do not use the link in WorldCat. If you cannot find a book with any of these sources, stop by the Reference Desk or visit one of us in our office.
|Catalog||Web Site Address|
|WU Hilltop Libraries||http://catalog.wustl.edu/search~/|
|Missouri Research Libraries||http://mobius.missouri.edu/|
|WorldCat (over 40 million items)||http://firstsearch.oclc.org/FSIP|