Supreme Court Seminar Research Guide

Hyla Bondareff, Research Services Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Washington University School of Law Library
Room 455H, 935-6434,

Fall 2000

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

Citation Search


e.g. 410 U.S. 113

Party Name Search

Enter one party's name, e.g. Miranda

Full-Text Search

Courtesy of FindLaw

Other Sources for Supreme Court Opinions

Other Information About the Court


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.

There are also numerous online sources for federal statutes. Westlaw, Lexis, Cornell's LII, Findlaw, US House of Representatives, and GPO Access.

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
Law Library
WU Hilltop Libraries
Missouri Research Libraries
WorldCat (over 40 million items)