Overview

Lawyers, policymakers, and academics often rely on legal databases to gain a quick understanding of court rulings.

Recommended Databases

Note: Since all cases must work there way through the courts, you will often retrieve many results representing each step of the way through the court system. While you can use the limits to filter to Supreme Court (the final stop), it's much easier if you have the document, number

Examples:

  • 138 S.Ct. 2206
  • 137 S.Ct. 1730
  • 135 S. Ct. 2001

The process:

  • Select "Cases", and "Federal."
  • Enter the case name (for example, Smith v. Maryland) or the case document number, (example: 442 U.S. 735 or 99 S. Ct. 2577)
  • If you don't have the document number, Narrow by - Court and select Supreme Court. You may have to open a few petitions before you find the full opinion.

*A number like 442 U.S. 735  means that the opinion has been published in United States Reports (volume 442, page 735), the final publication destination. A number like 138 S. Ct. 2006 is the number supplied before final publication in United States Reports. Both are valid numbers.