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Major Sources of Supreme Court Materials
Find Opinions in Reporters
Historically, the term "reporter" described the individual person who compiled, edited, and published volumes of case law. Now "reporter" refers to the published books containing judicial opinions. Below are three sources where you may access reporters of United States Supreme Court opinions.
How do you find the docket number for a case? You can search https://www.oyez.org/ using the party names (ex. Roe v. Wade).
Why search by docket number? You can search by party names, but sometimes this will lead to confusion. Docket numbers are unique to specific cases.
Note that there is an approximately 5-year delay between the date of a Supreme Court decision and its publication in the official U.S. Reports. The Supreme Court publishes Slip Opinions and Preliminary Prints long before bound volumes of U.S. Reports. During this window of time, you may cite to the unofficial reporters listed below, which publish much more quickly.
Find Records and Briefs
Records and briefs are the papers submitted to or generated by a court in a particular case, including complaints, motion papers, court orders and briefs filed by litigants and other interested parties. Availability varies for records and briefs pre-dating digital preservation, but Nexis Uni provides access to a large portion of the available Supreme Court records.
United States Reports (Official Opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court)
This digital collection from the Library of Congress contains volumes 1-570, covering the years 1754-2012. This collection will continue to grow as the Supreme Court digitizes more volumes of the U.S. Reports. The United States Reports is a series of bound case reporters that are the official reports of decisions for the Supreme Court of the United States.
SCOTUSblog is devoted to covering the U.S. Supreme Court comprehensively, without bias and according to the highest journalistic and legal ethical standards. It generally reports on every merits case before the court at least three times: before argument, after argument and after the decision. The blog notes all of the paid cert petitions that raise a legal question it believes may interest the justices; the blog gives additional coverage to particularly significant petitions. For the merits cases and the petitions covered, access is provided to all the briefs.
Oyez (pronounced OH-yay)—a free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law—is a multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone. It is the most complete and authoritative source for all of the Court’s audio since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. Oyez offers transcript-synchronized and searchable audio, plain-English case summaries, illustrated decision information, and full-text Supreme Court opinions (through Justia). Oyez also provides detailed information on every justice throughout the Court’s history and offers a panoramic tour of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of several justices.
Allows you to search for basic case information or browse for basic case information by court or type of lawsuit.
Google Scholar Case Law
To find case reports for specific courts, click on Case Law under the main search bar and then click on the "Select Courts" link. Select the court(s) you are interested in. Then enter a keyword (like abortion), party names (like Roe v. Wade) or docket number in the search bar.
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