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LSP -- Government Documents: Court Decisions

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The Courts

  • Supreme Court
  • Lower Courts (Appelate/District)
  • State Supreme (or other, highest) Court
  • Not criminal court trials.

You can often find Supreme Court Decisions posted on the web* That is, assuming you know the party names in the case. There are a number of reputable sites that re-post these decisions, for example the Cornell Legal Information Institute, or Justia.

However ...

When you need to find Supreme Court cases about a topic (you don't have specific case names in hand), or when you need a lower-court decision, especially from years back, you’ll need the library!

In addition, in terms of citing a court case, citing a web page is not a good citation. It must be cited to it's official court "reporter, " United States Reports. 

Sample court citation:

Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections. 383 U.S. 663.

Explanation:

Supreme Court decisions are published in United States Reports, abbreviated "U.S." 383 U.S. 663 refers to volume 383 of United States Reports, page 663.

 

Resources

Exercises

I. How has the Supreme Court decided around issues of privacy?

Start by searching The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History.

NOTE: The search window at the top will search all of the online Oxford Reference sources. Scroll down under the title to search within this reference work.  

Search for the term privacy.

II. Find the Supreme Court case for Griswold v. Connecticut. What is the legal citation for this case?