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Researching the United States Supreme Court: Print & Online Resources   Tags: appeals, appellate, associate, chief, constitution, court, judicial review, justice, scotus  

Highlights resources available at/via Tulane libraries as well as on free, reliable websites. Coverage includes primary & secondary sources. Feel free to contact me whenever you need more help researching the United States Supreme Court.
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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A Personal Anecdote

While studying Chinese law at Tsinghua University in 2005, I toured a white-shoe firm based in Beijing & spoke with one of its partners. On learning that I'm an American, she said she'd previously studied U.S. law at the University of Texas. I asked her if she had a favorite class. Her answer—constitutional law—surprised me. I thought she'd say corporate law because that's what her firm specializes in. So I asked her to explain. Her eyes opened widely as she gushed about the U.S. Supreme Court. She seemed awed that America's top court can check (via judicial review) constitutional violations by the executive & legislative branches, & also that those branches abide by the Court's rulings. China has a supreme court as well, she noted, but it can't check constitutional violations by the executive or legislative branches. She said she hopes it'll be able to someday, though. Hmmm. Maybe the U.S. Supreme Court's influence is waning among foreign courts, but not its power to inspire foreign lawyers.


Bold Questions: Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Reference Books

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Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2d ed.) - Kermit L. Hall et al., eds.
Call Number: KF8742 .A35 O93 2005 [Reference]
Comprehensive, 1-volume encyclopedia-of-sorts on history & current operation of Court. Has over 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries (e.g., biographies, case analyses, vocabulary & phrases) signed & written by distinguished legal experts & scholars. Extensively cross-referenced. Also has case & topical indexes.

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Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions (2d ed.) - Kermit Hall & James W. Ely, eds.
Call Number: KF4548.5 .O97 2009 [Reference]
Individually analyzes the 440 most important cases in Court's history through 2008. Arranged alphabetically, with cross-references to other cases. All entries signed & written by distinguished legal experts & scholars. Also has glossary, list of further reading, & case & topical indexes.

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Supreme Court Compendium (6th ed.) - Lee Epstein et al.
Call Number: KF8742 .E68 2015 [Reference]
1-stop resource for historical & statistical data on every important aspect of Court, including its history; growth as an institution; the justices’ backgrounds, nominations, & confirmations; & Court’s relationship with public & other governmental & judicial bodies. Updated through 2014 term, has more than 180 tables & charts with wealth of new information as well as reliable back data for longitudinal analyses.

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Supreme Court Justices (3d ed.) - Clare Cushman, ed.
Call Number: KF8744 .S86 2013 [6th Floor]
114 original biographical essays profile every Court justice (including proto-Tulanian Edward Douglass White) from 1789 to 2012. Gives overview of justice's legal philosophy, major cases during her/his tenure, & justice's relationships with other Court jurists. Arranged in order of justices' appointments. Has lively anecdotes, portraits, photos, political cartoons, & an extensive bibliography.

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Supreme Court Practice (10th ed.) - Stephen M. Shapiro et al.
Call Number: KF9057 .S8 2013 [Reserve]
Aims "to set forth in a single volume . . . as close as possible everything, outside of the field of substantive law, that a lawyer would want to know in handling a case in the Supreme Court." Among other things, 1,500-page tome covers jurisdiction, briefs on the merits, oral argument, & bar admission. Also on Bloomberg Law (in HTML, not PDF, but with print pagination).

Reel SCOTUS ~ Documentaries on DVD

  • Case Against 8
    Re: California's same-sex marriage referendum. See Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013) {5-to-4 vote}.
  • Citizen Koch
    Re: political campaign spending by corporations. See Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) {5-to-4 vote}.
  • Loving Story
    Re: the couple who challenged Virginia's interracial marriage ban. See Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) {9-to-0 vote}.
  • Most Dangerous Man in America
    Re: Daniel Ellsburg, controversial "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower. See New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) {6-to-3 vote}.
  • The Oath
    Re: Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's personal driver & 1st Guantanamo Bay [Cuba] detainee to face controversial post-9/11 American military tribunal. See Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006) {5-to-3 vote}.
  • Of Civil Wrongs & Rights
    Re: internment of Japanese-Americans during WW2. See Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944) {6-to-3 vote}.
  • Scottsboro
    Re: trials & tribulations of 9 black men falsely accused of raping 2 white women in Jim Crow-era South. See Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932) {7-to-2 vote}; Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935) {8-to-0 vote}.
  • Sex & Justice
    Re: sensational 1991 Senate confirmation hearing of then-Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who had just been accused of sexual harassment 10 years earlier by his former EEOC subordinate Anita Hill. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem hosts.
  • Supreme Court
    Re: 1st-ever filmic history (in 4 parts) of Court from its start in 1789 until death of Chief Justice Rehnquist in 2005.
  • With All Deliberate Speed
    Re: history & legacy of landmark public school desegregation cases. See Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483 (1954) [Brown 1] {9-to-0 vote}; Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954) {9-to-0 vote}; 349 U.S. 294 (1955) [Brown 2] {9-to-0 vote}.

"The Death of Antonin Scalia: Reactions from Quail"


"The Supreme Court, Explained"



This information was published as a LibGuide by Roy L. Sturgeon in June 2015 for Tulane University Law School in Louisiana.


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