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Court Briefs & Oral Arguments

Identifies print and online sources, free and commercial, for briefs and oral arguments

About

Briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court are available in print and microfiche/film, on commercial online legal research services (Lexis Advance and WestlawNext), and on the Internet. The Law Library's print collection of briefs is one of a handful outside of the Washington DC area. Although the collection is extensive, it is not complete.

The U.S. Supreme Court Library has the most complete collection of Supreme Court briefs (202/479-3186) and the Clerk's Office maintains complete sets of records and briefs for the current term (202/479-3030).

See SCOTUSblog's Supreme Court Procedure page for a description of the steps a case takes to and through the Supreme Court.

Free Online Sources

Online Commercial Sources

A number of commercial and free websites provided Supreme Court briefs. Time periods and coverage vary.

Only Nexis Uni is available to Library visitors. See the Gallagher guide on Access to Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance & WestlawNext for information on those services.

In the Gallagher Law Library

Briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court are available in the Gallagher Law Library in several formats: print, microfiche, and microfilm. In most cases, the briefs are organized by docket number assigned by the Court when a case is filed. A case's docket number is shown on the first page of the written opinion and on the upper right hand corner of microfiche.

The table below indicates the format for briefs filed in specific time periods. It also indicates whether the collection for that time period is comprehensive or selective and the Library location. See the footnotes for further explanations.

Years

Docket Nos.

Format

Coverage 1

Call No / Location

1936 - 

1936-1 to 15.50402

paper

3

Compact Stacks

1867 -

 

paper

selective 4

KF101.9.L36 / Classified Stacks

1973 -

to 14.8349

fiche

comprehensive

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1960 - 72

 

fiche

comprehensive

KF101.9 /Special Collections-Microform 5

1957 - 59

 

fiche

full opinion only

KF101.9 /Special Collections-Microform 5

1951 - 56

 

fiche

comprehensive

KF101.9 /Special Collections-Microform 5

1924 - 34

 

fiche

full opinion only

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1923

 

fiche

incomplete

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1919 - 22

 

fiche

full opinion only

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1918

 

fiche

incomplete

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1897 - 1917

 

fiche

full opinion only

KF101.9 / Reference Area

1832 - 96

 

film 6

comprehensive

KF101.9 /Special Collections-Microform 5

1. Coverage indicates whether the collection contains all cases (comprehensive) or just those cases in which the Court issued a full opinion. "Comprehensive” includes briefs in cases submitted to the Court, including those denying certiorari, memorandum opinions, and those with full opinions.

2. Briefs for original jurisdiction cases are shelved in boxes before the oldest docket numbers. (Cases in which the Court has original jurisdiction often extend over several terms and have a separate docket number sequence.)

3. The Law Library's collection is large, but incomplete. It does not contain all briefs for all cases, such as memorandum cases or cases denying certiorari.

4. Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States: Constitutional Law reprints briefs from important selected cases. KF101.9L36 at Classified Stacks. Search the Law Library catalog by the name of one or both parties as keywords to identify the appropriate volume number in this series. The first 4 volumes in the set contain summaries of oral arguments only. Beginning with volume 5, the set contains briefs and oral arguments. The Library's subscription was cancelled in 2008 and the last volume is 384.

5. Please request assistance at the Circulation Desk to have material from Special Collections retrieved.

6. For microfilm reel numbers, consult the Index to the Scholarly Resources Microfilm Edition of the Records and Briefs of the United States Supreme Court, 1832-1915. KF101.9.S35 index at Reference Office