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POSC 130g: Law, Politics, and Public Policy

Legal Research

The following database accesses legal research studies and scholarly journal articles:

  • HeinOnline Law Journals Library -- full text access to the digitized content in PDF format of hundreds of legal journals [a.k.a, law reviews]. This is one of the best sources for locating studies written by legal scholars concerning the impact and significance of court decisions.

Law Library Rsearch Guides

Below are links to research guides developed by library faculty in the USC Law Library that give detailed information on how to find legal information.

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, Dockets, Orders, Rules, and Decisions

  • The Findlaw Supreme Court Briefs page on the USC Law Library's Finding United States Supreme Court Briefs and Oral Arguments research guide describes how to locate U.S. Supreme Court briefs, dockets, oral arguments and other materials going back to the 1999 term from the Findlaw open access legal database.


  • 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.