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Reviewed 15 September 2013 E-mail: Administrator@LawSource.com

United States Supreme Court Decisions

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, linked here, provides the best access to cases from 1990 forward. (See Additional Resources below for earlier cases.) The court provides its decisions on-line for the current term and the past several terms. The complete contents of bound volumes of United States Reports, starting with volume 502 (1991), can be downloaded in PDF files (one LARGE file per volume) from the court’s web site. However, the most-recent volume in that collection always is several years behind the current term.

Additional Resources

Note — The Supreme Court’s term begins each year on the first Monday in October and ends, usually, in the fol­low­ing June. Opinions (and orders and other documents) issued by the court are pub­lished officially in United States Reports (“U.S.” in citations), commonly referred to as “U.S. Reports.” See 28 U.S.C. § 411; see also information about opinions at the court’s web site.

Note — In the volumes of U.S. Reports up to mid-1883, the date on which a given case was decided was not printed in the report of the case. Supreme Court librarians produced a PDF file (168 pages) listing the dates for those cases.

FindLaw database … [West Group] — Browse decisions by years (from 1893) or by volumes of U.S. Reports (from 150 U.S. 54); or use one of the following forms to retrieve a case by citation or to search for a case by party name or keywords (search terms are not case-sensitive).

U.S. Reports from 1 U.S. 1 et seq. … [Public.Resource.Org] — This web site provides HTML files (lacking page breaks within each report) of the case reports and orders in volumes starting with 1 U.S. 1 and continuing at least to 544 U.S. 1301 (April 15, 2005). This is an on-going project; volumes can be expected to be added to the database from time to time.

Supreme Court order lists … [Cornell Law Sch. (N.Y.), Legal Information Inst.] — Search a database of actions by the court as described in its regular Monday order lists, beginning with the first order list issued in October 1998 and continuing through the most recent order list issued by the court. Order lists contain information on the cases the court has agreed to hear (cases for which the court “grants certiorari”) or has elected to let stand as they were decided in a lower court (cases in which the court “denies certiorari”) as well as a variety of decisions on procedural matters such as prescribing how cases are to be heard and argued or granting requests concerning the filing of briefs.

Current and recent opinions
Historic opinions
Miscellaneous resources


United States Courts of Appeals Decisions

See also special courts’ decisions, below. See a table of the federal judicial circuits showing each court’s location (city) and included districts (states).

  1. Decisions — Court Web Sites
    1. Regular Decisions:
    2. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (B.A.P.) Decisions:
       … Bankruptcy appellate panels exist in about half of the circuits. (For background information, see a Wiki­pedia article on bankruptcy appellate panels.) Published B.A.P. opinions not available through the links provided here might be included in the circuit’s internet database for regu­lar decisions; see the drop-down list for regu­lar decisions, above.
  2. Decisions — Other Sources
    1. Google Scholar … This is a search interface. Select “Case law” then the desired court(s) before starting a search. Enter a citation — which must be to the first page of a case report — or a party’s name; a link to the desired case report will be returned. Text searching also is possible. The search results include links to later case reports in which the targeted case is cited. In the targeted case report, page breaks from the original printed volume are indicated, at the level of a line of text (which makes this source useful for serious legal research). In many instances, links also are provided, within the case report being examined, to reports of cases that are cited in it.
    2. Public.Resource.Org … This web site provides the first series of Federal Reporter (F.) in PDF copies of the original printed volumes. Also available are volumes of the second series (F.2d) and volumes of the on-going third series (F.3d); both of those series are presented as HTML files (lacking page breaks within the case reports).
Additional Resources

Courts of appeals decisions … [West Group (FindLaw)] — Cases can be found by party names, by docket number, or by month-and-year of decision; but cases cannot be retrieved by citation (e.g., “73 F.3d 1”). Free access goes back through the mid-1990s (varies slightly by circuit). There is a text-search function.

Third Circuit decisions … [Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law (Pa.)] — This covers decisions issued from May 1994 forward.

Summaries of cases in the Ninth Circuit … [Willamette Univ. Coll. of Law (Ore.)] — Summaries of opinions in cases decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, from 2004 forward. A free e-mail subscription is available, to receive updates regarding new summaries.

Miscellaneous resources


United States District Court Decisions

[See the page for the state or territory where the court sits: use a drop-down list, above right.]

Additional Resources

U.S. district court opinions and orders … [Justia, Inc. (Cal.)] — This web page enables searching for cases and orders by party names as well as by keywords in texts. The database covers cases and orders from district courts throughout the United States, in the period from January 1, 2004, to the current date, as well as a few cases from preceding years back to 2000.

CourtWeb … [U.S. District Court, Middle Dist. of Pa.] — Information on selected recent rulings of various judges, on U.S. district courts in several states, who have elected to make information available in this form.

District courts — civil cases database (1987–2000) … [Theodore Eisenberg & Kevin M. Clermont, Cornell Law Sch. (N.Y.)] — Searchable database of various statistical facts (not the actual facts in the cases) derived from civil cases concluded in all of the U.S. district courts up to 2000, beginning with 1978 (for cases with completed trials) or 1987 (all cases).

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) … [Administrative Off. of the U.S. Courts] — How to obtain case information and dockets, downloadable for a fee, directly from the courts (including bankruptcy courts).


United States Special Court Decisions

See a table of former special federal courts and the current successor courts.


United States Constitution

This link retrieves a PDF version published by the House of Representatives as H.R. Doc. 108-95 (June 20, 2003). It contains an index and includes the texts of proposed amendments not ratified.

Additional Resources

Alternative on-line versions

Annotated versions … Annotations linked here were written by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Con­gress and in­clude citations to relevant Supreme Court decisions. (Some of the Constitution’s provisions and amendments have no anno­ta­tions.) The annotated Constitution is published under the title Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, popularly called the Constitution Annotated. See also links to other commentary on the Con­sti­tution, including The Federalist.


Supreme Court constitutional decisions … [Library of Congress] — This is a section from the Constitution Annotated, citing decisions of the Supreme Court based on constitutional grounds, classified in the following cate­gories:

Translated versions

Constitution in downloadable file


United States Legislation

Codified laws are in the United States Code, linked below.

  1. Bills:
     … Bill records are available from 1973 (93rd Congress) to the present. The full texts of bills are available from 1989 (101st Congress). Amendment records are available from 1981 (97th Congress), and full texts of amendments are available from 1995 (104th Congress), to the present. The legislation collection is updated the morning after a session adjourns. See Coverage Dates for Legislative Information for more information.
  2. Public Laws … An enacted bill or joint resolution appears on the Congress.gov web site after the National Archives and Records Administration assigns a public-law number (Pub. L. No.). That number becomes a link, on Congress.gov, to the official text after publication by the Government Publication Office. (See also links to private laws, which are rarely enacted.)
    1. Browse Public Laws … Texts of public laws are available starting with the 104th Congress (1995–1996). Limited information (sometimes including texts as enrolled, but no official texts as enacted) can be obtained for laws of the 93rd Congress (1973–1974) through the 103rd Congress (1993–1994). A drop-down list serves as a Congress-to-years conversion chart.
    2. Search Public Laws … To search for keywords in texts of public laws, use the quick search form or the advanced search form that also covers bills (see above).
    3. Retrieve
      Pub. L. No. – in
       … Retrieve the text of a particular public law. If this form returns an error, it indicates that the text has not yet been published by the Government Publication Office. In that case, if a public-law number has been assigned, try the browsing option, above; or when no public-law number has been assigned, try looking at the bill record, above.
Additional Resources

Note: Statutes at Large — Public laws enacted by Congress (and the few occasional private laws) are pub­lished officially in United States Statutes at Large (“Stat.” in citations; “Statutes at Large” informally) by the National Archives and Records Administration. See an explanation, “About Public and Private Laws,” on the GPO web site. See also lists show­ing bill number, public law number, name of act, approval date, and Statutes at Large page citation and span (but no text links), for both the current session and also past sessions back through Pub. L. No. 103-1 (1993). There is also a Wikipedia article.

Note: Revised Statutes — An historical outline and source notes for federal statutes, pre­pared by Richard J. McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian for the Federal Reserve Board, shows how the process of pub­lishing federal statutes has changed over time since 1789. Volume 18 of the Statutes at Large (1878) con­tains, in part I, the Revised Statutes of the United States (“R.S.” in official citations or “Rev. Stat.” unof­ficially; “Revised Statutes” in­for­mal­ly), which was a compilation of all federal laws as of December 1, 1873, with amendments enacted in 1874–1877. It was the precursor of the United States Code. (See a Wikipedia article.) Some pro­vi­sions in the Revised Statutes were not carried into the United States Code; Acts of Congress can occa­sionally include a citation to the Revised Statutes when amending one of those provisions. The Library of Congress provides images of all 1,394 pages of the Revised Stat­utes contained in part I of volume 18 of the Statutes at Large, in­clud­ing an index.

Note — See also selected commentary on U.S. legislation linked on another page.

United States Statutes at Large (1789 to present)… [The Constitution Society (Tex.)] — These are search­able PDF files. Each file contains one entire volume of the Statutes at Large; therefore, down­load­ing a file could take a significant amount of time. (Volumes 6, 7, and 8 are omitted.)

United States Statutes at Large, volumes 1–18 (1789–1875) … [Library of Congress] — These are available as digital facsimile images accompanied by searchable indexes and page headings.

United States Statutes at Large, volumes 65 et seq. (1951 to present) … [Gov’t Publ’g Off. (D.C.)]

Popular name table … [Cornell Law Sch. (N.Y.), Legal Information Inst.] — List of popular names of federal acts (e.g., the Securities Act of 1933, or the Trademark Act) and codified statutes, with appropriate links.

Public Law Electronic Notification Service (PENS) … To receive free e-mail notification from the National Archives and Records Admin­is­tra­tion each time NARA assigns a public law number to a newly enacted law, join the PUBLAWS-L list (a LISTSERV list).

Catalog of public and private laws … [National Archives & Records Admin.] — Lists of public laws (as well as the relatively few private laws) that are available in electronic files, with links, organized by session of Congress, from the 104th Congress (1995–1996) forward. Not every session of Congress enacts private laws.

U.S. Code classification tables  … [U.S. House of Representatives, Off. of the Law Revision Counsel] — Files showing where sections of public laws (except Pub. L. No. 106-554, Consolidated Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act of 2001) are classified to the U.S. Code, back through the 104th Congress (1995–1996).

Congressional bills … [Gov’t Publ’g Off. (D.C.)] — The GPO database of bill texts, from the 103rd Congress (1993–1994) forward, can be browsed or searched.

  1. United States Code
    … Use this selection list to retrieve an individual title of the code, or an appendix to a title. An asterisk (*) indicates enactment of the title (except appendices) into positive law; see the note in Addi­tional Resources below. The following title numbers are reserved or pending: 53, 55 (environment), 56 (wildlife), 57 (small business).

     U.S.C. § 
     … Use this form to retrieve a specific code section. (Note: Titles 34, 53, 55, and 56 are reserved.)

    The House of Representatives web site, which is linked through the forms above, presents code versions from the 1994 main edition for­ward to the current version. A single page incorporates both a text-search form (choose “Advanced Search” to search code editions prior to the current edition) and also a citation retrieval form, along with a brows­able list of titles.
Additional Resources

Note — Most public laws are reflected in the United States Code (“U.S.C.” in citations; “U.S. Code” in­for­mal­ly), which is a topical compilation, in more than 50 titles, of the major part of Congressional legislation. See an explanatory comment on the code by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel in the House of Representatives, including dates for the current supplements to the most-recent edition of the code. See also a Wikipedia article. Cornell Law School’s LII database automatically provides access to amend­ments from Pub. L. No. 104-1 (1995) forward. The texts of the code titles that have been enacted into positive law (see the drop-down selection list, above) constitute legal evidence of the law contained in those titles. The remaining titles of the code are prima facie evidence of the laws contained in them; the laws themselves constitute the legal (unimpeachable) evidence of their content. See 1 U.S.C. § 204. There is a plan to enact addi­tional titles into positive law, raising the number of sepa­rate titles in the code to 56 (or more).

U.S. Code titles and chapters … [U.S. House of Representatives, Off. of the Law Revision Counsel] — Download a title in a zipped text file; or download any chapter in a title as a plain-text file.

U.S. Code derivation tables  … [U.S. House of Representatives, Off. of the Law Revision Counsel] — Files showing where sections of the U.S. Code are derived from public laws (except Pub. L. No. 106-554, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001), back through the 104th Congress (1995-1996).

Uniform Code of Military Justice
Appendices to U.S. Code titles

Federal Trade Commission — Related Acts … Descriptive summaries, with links to texts, of more than 70 laws under which the FTC has enforcement and administrative responsibilities.


United States Rules of Court — Procedure and Practice

The Administrative Office of the Courts provides access to current (pending) and past rules amendments. On-line versions of court rules might not reflect the most-recent amendments. The AOC site should always be checked.

  1. Court Rules
    1. Supreme Court (e.g., U.S. Sup. Ct. R. [no.]) … The Court provides its rules in PDF files. The Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School provides the rules in HTML files, together with a search function.
    2. Circuit Courts of Appeal:
       (e.g., 1st Cir. R. [no.])
    3. Bankruptcy Appellate Panels:  (e.g., 1st Cir. B.A.P. R. [no.])
    4. Special Courts:  (e.g., Ct. App. Armed Forces R. [no.])
  2. Procedure and Practice
    1. Rules of Procedure:
       (e.g., Fed. R. App. P. [no.]) … This selection list gives access to current versions of the rules. See also links to additional rules and amendment activity. For the “Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims” (which are lettered as rule A, rule B, and so forth: cited as “Fed. R. Civ. P., Supp. R. A” for example), open the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure linked in this selection list. The supplemental rules are at the end, after the appendix of forms following rule 86.
    2. Model Jury Instructions:
    3. Codes of Conduct: … See also published advisory opinions under the code of conduct for judges.
Additional Resources

Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure … [Administrative Off. of the U.S. Courts] — Giving a comprehensive view of amend­ment activity, this site “provides access to the national and local rules currently in effect in the federal courts, as well as back­ground information on the federal rules and the rulemaking process.”

Bankruptcy Rules Made Easy (2001) … [Administrative Off. of the U.S. Courts / Christopher M. Klein] — This article (3.8 MB), from American Bankruptcy Law Journal, is subtitled: “A Guide to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure That Apply in Bankruptcy.”

6th Circuit:Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Practice Manual

7th Circuit:Standards for Professional Conduct Within the Seventh Federal Judicial Circuit

Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: Rules of Admission and Practice

Military courts … See also the Manual for Courts-Martial linked on another page.

Wikipedia articles: … See also “Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States.”


United States International Law

See also a guide to electronic resources for international law, provided by the American Society of International Law.

  1. Treaties in Force … [U.S. State Dep’t, Off. of Treaty Affairs] — This link opens a page showing the table of contents of PDF files lists of treaties and other international agreements of the United States in force as of January 1, 2000.
  2. Private International Law Database … [U.S. State Dep’t, Off. of the Legal Adviser, Assistant Legal Adviser for Private Inter­na­tional Law] — For specific subject areas, as of January 20, 2001, this site shows (1) multilateral conventions in force for the United States, for which the United States has deposited an instrument of ratification, (2) multilateral conventions under consideration with respect to eventual ratification and passage of domestic implementing legislation, (3) significant multilateral treaties and conventions not ratified by the United States, and (4) other international instruments, such as model laws, agreed principles, and guides. “The purpose of this web site is to provide a convenient location to find treaties in force for the United States, other international instruments, and information on current negotiations and projects covering the private international law of such areas as trade and commerce, finance and banking, trusts and estates, family and children matters, and international judicial assistance. … This web site also offers a convenient location to find links to the web sites maintained by the major intergovernmental organizations concerned with the unification and development of private international law … .” See also the web site of the Hague Conference on Private International Law for texts of all conventions on private international law.
Additional Resources

Legislative Activity on Treaties … [U.S. Senate] — Information on treaties received, treaties on the executive calendar, treaties approved, and other treaty status actions, by the Senate in the current session of Congress.

Treaty Actions: … [U.S. State Dep’t, Off. of Treaty Affairs] — Summarized information on treaty actions month-by-month for each year.

Digest of Treaties of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service … Treaties between the United States and other countries, on subjects connected with functions of the Fish and Wildlife Service, are briefly described, and various related sources (such as public laws implementing treaties) are cited, but links to treaty texts and related sources are not provided.


United States Administrative Law Sources

  1. Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders (1945–1989) … [National Archives & Records Admin.] — The Office of the Federal Register presents this online version of the Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders, April 13, 1945, through January 20, 1989. The paper version of this publication is out of print. This codification provides, in one reference source, proclamations and executive orders with general applicability and continuing effect. It covers April 13, 1945, through January 20, 1989, spanning the administrations of Harry S. Truman through Ronald Reagan.
Additional Resources

Disposition of Executive Orders of the President (E.O.) … [National Archives & Records Admin.] — Starting with E.O. 7532 (Jan. 8, 1937) by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, these tables contain locator information (Federal Register citation), current status, and other information about executive orders. Some of the more-recent executive orders can be accessed through links. Note that access is available (see below on this page) to issues of the Federal Register back through volume 59 (1994).

Compilation of Presidential Documents … [National Archives & Records Admin.] — The Compilation of Presidential Documents is published weekly by the Office of the Federal Register. It contains statements, messages, and other Presidential materials released by the White House. For 2009 and later years, materials are available also in electronic format on a daily basis.

  1. Federal Regulations … Javascript must be enabled, and a pop-up blocker should be disabled, for the links below to work properly. (That is a consequence of the way the GPO’s “Federal Digital System” web site is designed, not a requirement of this web site.)
    1. Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) 
    2. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) … This is a currently updated version of the C.F.R., which can be browsed and searched. It is an unofficial editorial compilation of C.F.R. material and Federal Register amendments.
    3. Federal Register (Fed. Reg.) 

    CAUTION—Regulations in the C.F.R. can be obsolete by as much as 11 months because of the quarterly rotational schedule for updating. Always search the List of Sections Affected (LSA) for a C.F.R. section number, to discover whether the section has been affected by regulatory action within a selected date range.

    Note — Some parts of C.F.R. titles include appendices. To view an appendix, use the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR), linked above. Navigate to the Table of Contents  link (not the “Part” link) for the C.F.R. part where the appendix is expected to be found, click on that link, and look for the appended material to be listed and linked after the final section of the pertinent part (or, sometimes, a subpart).

  2. Internal Revenue Service 
  3. Administrative Opinions: 
    … This cate­gory in­cludes ord­ers and de­ci­sions. For additional opinions, orders, and decisions, see a collection of links to federal administrative decisions and other actions at the University of Virginia School of Law.
  4. Administrative Procedural Rules: 
    … This category includes rules of prac­tice and judicial rules.
Additional Resources

The Federal Register Tutorial … [Off. of the Federal Register / National Archives & Records Admin.] — Subtitled “The Federal Register: What It Is and How to Use It,” this tutorial covers (1) historical background and legal basis of the Federal Register / Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) publication system, (2) the regulatory process and the role of the public, (3) organization of the daily Federal Register and important elements of typical documents, (4) proposed rules, rules, notices, and presidential documents, (5) organization of the C.F.R. and the relationships among public laws, the Federal Register, and the C.F.R., and (6) research tools to find information in print and online publications.

A Research Guide to the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations … [Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C.]

Regulations.gov … “On this U.S. Government Web site you can find, view, and comment on regulations and other actions for all federal agencies.”

C.F.R. Titles … [Cornell Law Sch. (N.Y.), Legal Information Inst.] — Interface for browsing the Code of Federal Regulations.

Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules … This LARGE FILE (almost 1MB), or a smaller PDF version, contains tables listing rulemaking authority (except 5 U.S.C. § 301) for regulations codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, including statutory citations that are noted as being interpreted or applied by those regulations. Use this table to find C.F.R. links to U.S.C. citations, Statutes at Large citations (browser-search for “Statutes at Large:” — listed from 7 Stat. forward, but coverage is spotty), public law citations (browser-search for “Public Laws:” — listed by law number only, from 80-806 forward, but coverage is spotty), and executive orders and miscellaneous presidential documents (browser-search for “Presidential Documents:”). Note that the C.F.R. links for a U.S.C. citation can be specifically extracted through Cornell Law School’s LII web site, by first viewing the code section there (see the form above for U.S.C. citations).

Search C.F.R. Section Headings … [Cornell Law Sch. (N.Y.), Legal Information Inst.] — Hits are displayed in the context of section headings grouped under the “Part”-level heading (that is, all of the headings within one part are displayed).


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