Supreme Court Cases

  • Reference Works in Grace Library

    The sources listed below are often the best places to start doing research on Supreme Court cases. They may even help you decide on a specific case to research, if you have not done so already. All books located in the Reference Collection will have the abbreviation Ref. printed on the spine of the book above the call number.

    • Historic U.S. Court Cases: An Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. New York : Routledge, 2001.
      A 2-volume set containing more than 200 different essays on important court cases in the United States. It mostly treats Supreme Court cases, but some coverage is also given to significant lower-level decisions. If you know the name of the case you are looking for, use the Case Index at the back of volume 2. Otherwise, scan the contents in the beginning of volume 1 and start browsing. Many, but not all, of the cases in the area of business law will be located in the section called “Economics and Economic Regulation.”
      CALL NUMBER: KF 352 Z9 H57 2001 located in the Ready Reference Collection on the 2nd level  
    •  West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. Detroit : Thomson/Gale, 2005.
      A 13-volume, encyclopedic work on all aspects of American law. Use the index in volume 13 to look up topics, specific cases, etc.—for instance, there is a large section in the index devoted to “Business and Commerce.”
      CALL NUMBER: KF 154 W47 2005 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level
    • Hall, Kermit L., ed. Oxford Companion to American Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
      This is an encyclopedic treatment of all aspects of American law. It is probably most useful for looking up specific individuals or overview articles that give context to legal decisions in a particular area of the law. For instance, the “Business Organizations” entry gives an overview of several aspects of business law.
      CALL NUMBER: KF 154 O96 2002 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level. 

    Each of the reference works below may have additional information on specific cases or individuals involved in famous cases.

    • Lieberman, Jethro K. Evolving Constitution. New York: Random House, 1992.
      CALL NUMBER: KF 4548 L54 1992 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level.
    • Levy, Leonard. L, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. New York: Macmillan, 1990.
      CALL NUMBER: KF 4548 E53 1990 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level. 
    • McCaffery Paul and Messina, Lynn M. The United States Supreme Court. New York: H. W. Wilson, 2005.
      CALL NUMBER: KF8742.Z9 U55 2005 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level. 
    • Savage, David G. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Washington, DC: CQ Press, c2004.
      CALL NUMBER: KF8742 .W567 2004 located in the Reference Collection on the 2nd level. 


    You can also search in the Grace Library's Online Catalog for books on specific cases. To search for books and videos in Grace Library go to the library’s Online Catalog located on the library's web page. Once the online catalog window has opened, enter in one of the subject headings listed below into the Quick Search box, select subject from the drop down menu and click on the search button. This is only a partial list of suggested headings. Consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings for others.

    Brown, Oliver, 1918 – Trials, litigation, etc.
    Swann, James E. – Trials, litigation, etc.
    Abortion – Law and legislation – United States – Cases.
    Sex discrimination against women – Law and legislation – United States.

    Journal Articles

    Once you have decided on a specific case on which to focus, you can search for research articles through one or more of electronic databases such as Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), Business Source Elite (EBSCOhost), and OmniFile Full Text Select - H.W. Wilson (EBSCOhost). These articles may provide a summary of the case, an in-depth analysis of the case, some context and background on the legal and social issues involved; further reading suggestions, or some combination of all of these. All of these databases can be accessed through the library's web page by clicking on the link for Find Articles

    Additional Sources Online

    The Internet sources listed below are primarily useful for finding the full text of Supreme Court decisions. They usually will not give you analysis, background, etc., of cases. Also note that Supreme Court decisions are written in “legalese” and are frequently more than 50 pages long. 

    United States Supreme Court Official Web Site
    This is the best site for decisions made in the past five years. For older decisions, use one of the sites listed below.

    Legal Information Institute: Supreme Court Collection
    Use this site to find some important cases issued prior to 1893. You can search for historic decisions by case name or by topic. 

    Use this site for Supreme Court decisions issued from 1893 to the present, and also decisions made by the federal courts of appeals and a some state Supreme Courts.

    Google Scholar
    Search and find the full text of US Supreme Court opinions, decisions from all other federal courts back to 1923 and state courts from 1950s . Be sure to select the "Legal opinions and journals" option before searching.