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Political Science *: Judicial Branch Resources

Below are links to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.

Directories and Resource Guides

Official Websites

  • Office of the Solicitor General -- responsible for supervising and conducting litigation in the Supreme Court on behalf of the United States government.
  • Supreme Court -- the official website of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • U.S. Courts -- the official website of the federal judiciary.

Supreme Court Cases

  • Legal Information Institute -- contains court decisions and opinions from 1990 to the present provided by the Cornell School of Law. The archive can be searched by topic, author, or party involved.
  • Oyez Project -- a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.
  • Preview of the U.S. Supreme Court Cases -- provides briefs on the merits going back to the Court's 2003 term. Amicus briefs are included, but only for cases from the current term. The site is organized by term and month according to when the cases were argued before the Court. The main Preview page provides links to lists of cases argued in each term listed alphabetically by case name. The "Alphabetical Order (A-Z)" link is for the current term.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 -- a fully searchable database of approximately 11 million pages and more than 350,000 separate documents related to the Supreme Court from 1832-1978. Approximately 150,000 Supreme Court cases are featured, the majority consisting of those for which the Court did not give a full opinion.

Supreme Court Briefs and Oral Arguments

Resources

  • C-SPAN America and the Courts: Supreme Court -- provides links to videos, audio, and special programs on the Supreme Court.
  • Findlaw -- searchable database of full-text Supreme Court cases from 1937 to the present as well as federal and state court cases and codes.
  • Judicial Watch -- a conservative educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability, and integrity in government, politics and the law, informs the public about abuses and misconduct by political and judicial officials, and advocates for the need for an ethical, law abiding and moral civic culture.
  • Legal Information Institute Bulletin -- a Cornell Law School electronic journal that posts detailed previews of the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming cases. Previews are archived back to 2004.
  • The National Law Journal -- provides summaries of the current yearly calendar term ["October Term"] as soon as a decision is granted. In addition, news coverage is gathered from major legal newspapers. Free registration required.
  • Public Library of Law --  a database that provides Appellate and Supreme Court cases for all fifty states from 1997 to the present, all Federal Circuit Court cases from 1950 to the present, and all U.S. Supreme Court cases. The site also provides links to the statutes, constitutions, and court rules from all fifty states, selected state regulations and links to the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, and the Federal court rules.
  • SCOTUSblog -- devoted to comprehensively covering the U.S. Supreme Court without bias. The blog generally reports on every merits case before the Court at least three times: prior to argument; after argument; and after the decision.
  • Supreme Court Database -- contains over two hundred pieces of information about each case decided by the Court between the 1953 and 2008 terms. Examples include the identity of the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed, the parties to the suit, the legal provisions considered in the case, and the votes of the Justices.
  • The Supreme Court Historical Society -- a private non-profit organization founded by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Supreme Court Nomination Hearings -- provides information related to nomination hearings through available files for downloading. Note: Due to extremely large file sizes, browse pages based on the Table of Contents for each hearing. Each browse page has a link to the full hearing in PDF format as a ZIP file. You may need WinZip installed on your computer to unzip these files.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Legal Research

The following databases access legal research studies, scholarly journal articles, and documents:

  • British and Irish Legal Information Institute -- a full-text database of British and Irish case law and legislation, European Union case law, Law Commission reports, and other law-related British and Irish material.
  • Federal Digital System -- FDSys provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the United States government. The database offers advanced search capabilities and the ability to refine and narrow your search for quick access to the information you need.
  • Foreign Law Guide -- contains both primary and secondary source legal information for more than 170 jurisdictions from major nations to crown colonies, semi-independent states, and supra-national regional organizations.
  • Global Legal Information Network--a public database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by governmental agencies and international organizations.
  • HeinOnline Law Journals Library -- full text access to digitized content of major legal periodicals, the Federal Register, and other law-related materials.
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals -- a multilingual index to articles and book reviews published worldwide. The database covers international (public and private), comparative, and municipal law of countries other than the United States, the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
  • LEXIS/NEXIS Academic -- a database that includes full text access to law review journals, federal and state case law, European Union Cases, and the complete contents of the International Legal Materials publication from the American Society of International Law.
  • Martinus Nijhoff Online -- a database indexing the book content of Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, a leading publisher of imprints in international law and human rights law. Use the database to locate titles that can then be searched in the HOMER catalog or the Law Library's catalog, ADVOCAT.
  • World Legal Information Institute [WorldLII] Database --  an open access database of Internet-accessible legislation, constitutions, statutes, case law, superior or high court decisions, journals, treaties, law reform, domain name decisions, secondary materials, and related legal material from around the globe.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

State and Local Government Resources

LEXIS/NEXIS State Capital

Provides comprehensive access to state bills and laws, constitutions, proposed and enacted, regulations, newspapers of record articles about legislative issues affecting the states.


State and Local Government on the Net

This site provides a comprehensive set of over 5,500 links to state agencies, servers controlled by local government agencies, and servers with a domain that is associated with a city or county government. Also included under the executive branch heading are state and local commissions and boards. This is one of the best sites for finding obscure local government home pages. Useful for quickly locating city or town websites.


State Legislatures Internet Links

This database contains information gleaned from the home pages and websites of the fifty state legislatures, the District of Columbia and the Territories. You can select to view specific website content materials [such as, bills, press rooms, statutes] from all states, one state or a selected list of states.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.