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Courts - U.S. & Virginia   Tags: courts, government, judicial, judiciary, law  

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2012 URL: http://guides.lib.virginia.edu/courts Print Guide RSS Updates

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US Courts

  • US Courts
    Official US Judiciary web site. Links to various courts.

Supreme Court

Overview and Guides to the Supreme Court        

     Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court,  KF8742 .W567 1997, GIR Reading Room
     Good overview and introduction to the Supreme Court.   See also Lexis/Nexis guide to Supreme   
     Court-related topics; the Lexis/Nexis guide to searching for Supreme Court materials, and Lexis/Nexis Wiki
     entry on Legal
Research. 

Please Note
It can be a bit difficult to recognize the actual opinion in Lexis Nexis Academic.  There are always so many other entries for major Supreme Court cases – appeals, petitions for rehearing, etc. – that it muddies the water when you’re just trying to find the case.  A few hints: 

·         Go to US Legal in Lexis/Nexis Academic.  Pick “Federal & State Cases.”  Limit your search to US Supreme Court.  Search for “Party Names”

·         Search Google to get the main cite (410 U.S. 113, for instance) and then you can easily recognize it in LN.  Wikipedia is good for easily giving the citation to a case.

Remember:  It is important to get the actual opinion from Lexis/Nexis Academic or the Supreme Court’s web site or HeinOnline or the Cornell Legal Information Institute – somewhere authoritative, if not “official.”  But, in trying to identify the case it can definitely be helpful to look at Wikipedia or Google for the citation.  

  • Supreme Court Opinions - print format  
    United States Reports - JU 6.8:
    1920 to present
    1789 - present - 3rd floor, New Stacks

    Contains the majority, dissenting, and concurring opinions of the Supreme Court. The Court terms start the Second Monday in October and are numbered for the year in which they begin, i.e., the October 1980 term ended in July of 1981. Supreme Court citations are to volume of the US Reports and page number, for example "324 US 456."
    Older Supreme Court decisions were published privately and may be referred to as Dallas, Cranch, Wheaton, Peters, Howard, Black, or Wallace. 

    Slip Opinions - JU 6.8/b: docket number
    3rd floor, New Stacks
    First official printed version of Supreme Court opinions. Alderman does not retain once the bound US Reports volume has been received. These do circulate. 

  • Supreme Court Opinions - electronic format -- see links below 

  • Cornell Legal Information Institute Archive
    Supreme Court decisions since 1990. Texts are usually available in ASCII and PDF formats. Syllabus and dissenting opinions are provided.
  • FDSys
    Contains searchable databases of Supreme Court and other Federal court decisions
  • HeinOnline (UVA only)
    Includes PDF versions of Supreme Court opinions from 1 U.S. through slip opinions.
  • Lexis/Nexis Academic
    On main search screen, upper left, click on "Legal" tab. Next screen, click on "Federal & State Cases". Use "Sources" drop-down menu to select Supreme Court cases option.
  • Oyez Project
    U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database. Provides audio oral arguments for selected cases from 1956 to the present. Provides biographical information on justices, past and present - Northwestern

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