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Judicial Branch Publications

Prepared for LIS 526: Government Publications

Briefs and Oral Arguments

Briefs are the written legal and factual arguments that advocates submit to the court in a particular case. Oral arguments are the advocates' oral presentations and questions by the judges. The Law Library has a collection of U.S. Supreme Court briefs and oral arguments, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit briefs, in print and microform. For more information on coverage and format, see Court Briefs & Oral Arguments.

For briefs from other other federal courts, check the court's website, and also look for a law library within the geographic region. For oral argument, again check the court's website. Most federal appellate courts offer audio or video of recent arguments.

Dockets

A docket is the record of the activities, including legal papers filed by the parties and directives of the court, in a particular case. This record is referred to as a docket sheet.

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) provides the docket sheets and many associated documents from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. It is not free to the public, although minimal use is allowed at no cost. Users need to register and create an account. If the fees do not exceed a set amount in a quarterly billing cycle, the fee is waived. Opinions can be searched at no charge. Researchers with defined scholarly projects, limited in scope and not for redistribution, can submit a multi-court fee exemption request.