Finding Court Cases

For more on legal sources see: Library Research Guide for History 97g: "What is Legal History?"

Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project

Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Archives include legal "briefs," transcripts, and motions in cases reported in the Civil Liberties Docket since 1955-1966.

Transcripts of trial court cases are ordinarily not published. But when a case is appealed to a state appelate court, the opinion is often published and always published when appealed to the state supreme court. All US Supreme Court opinions are published. The full text of court opinions is available via LexisNexis Academic

Select U.S. Legal, then Federal & State Cases. This is a vast database, and searching Everywhere often yields too many hits. Limiting to Party Names often is best. Citation refers to the technical legal citation form and is not useful unless you happen to have it. Note that you can limit by state

The first part of the Case comprises secondary material added by LEXISNEXIS, and, further down, by the state court. The actual opinion begins:

Subject terms for additional searches may be drawn from the preliminary secondary material. Note Core Terms. You can limit the search to Legal Topics.

If you choose Landmark Cases instead of Federal & State Cases, you get a list of selected major cases under topics, including: Civil Rights, Racial Discrimination and Civil Rights, School Desegregation.

Note "Shepardize" on upper right of each case record. Hitting this link yields citations of your case by subsequent cases, in the upper portion of the results, and, below, in the law review literature.

Note that you can search the law reviews directly by selecting "Law Reviews", instead of "Federal & State Cases".

Briefs are the lawyers' arguments presented to the court in written form:
U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978

Research Guide: Finding Records & Briefs (Harvard Law School)

HeinOnline Subject Compilations of State Laws database provides detailed bibliographic information for thousands of articles, books, government documents, loose-leaf services, court opinions and websites that compare or survey state laws. Searchable by topic.

Law Periodicals

Hein Online Legal Journal Collection offers full-text of many law reviews and journals, most starting with volume 1 and extending in some cases to the present. Book reviews, notices, advertisements, etc., are included.

Index to periodical articles related to law (1958- ) indexes law-related articles in general and other non-law journals not covered by the legal indexes.

Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective (1908-1981).

LegalTrac (1980- ) indexes the contents of nearly 1000 English-language legal periodicals, including academic law journals, bar association publications, and legal newspapers, and law-related articles from business and general interest titles.

LexisNexis Academic Universe (1970- ) includes federal and state case law, statues, secondary sources such as law reviews, and state legal materials.