Legal Research: Supreme Court Cases

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Welcome to this Information and Library Services Tutorial on Searching for Supreme Court Cases by Keyword using Lexis-Nexis Academic. This tutorial will last approximately three minutes.

To search for Supreme Court cases by keyword, click on US Legal on the left-hand side of the page.

Next, choose Federal & State Cases option.

Enter your search terms into the “Search For” box. Using quotation marks around search terms tells the database to search for that exact phrase. Then go down to the “Jurisdiction” option and click on the drop down menu.

From the drop down menu, chose “U.S. Supreme Court”.

We are going to do the default search for “Everywhere” in the record. However, you can search by “Citation”, “Party Names”, “Legal Topics”, “Judges”, “Attorney”, or you can search for your terms that occur at least five times in the document.

On the left-hand side of the screen, you will see the number of results. In the middle of the screen, you will see cases are sorted by publication date. You can also sort them by “Relevance” or “Chronological”. “Chronological” means that the cases presented first will be displayed first. Let’s look at the case of AT&T vs. Hulteen

This is an example of a typical Federal case record. The default view in LexisNexis is a view of the Case Summary. This gives you an Over view of the case, the Outcome, and Core terms or keywords assigned to the case.

In order to find out the names of the parties involved, you will need to scroll to the top of the page. You’ll notice names of the parties involved in the suit, a listing of various ways the case is cited by such services as Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, Bureau of National Affairs, etc, and the date the case was decided.

Further down, you will find the Decision, and the Summary.

You will also find a listing of the Counsel, the Judges and the Opinion issued by the Court.

One of the last things that you will find is the Dissent, or rather, the judges who disagreed with the opinion and who they were. You will also find Footnotes interspersed within the text. They frequently provide important points about the Justices’ reasoning for the opinion and often cite the precedent set in previous cases in support of their argument. Footnotes may also contain references to the following: legal briefs, statutes, and prior cases. On the top right-hand side of the screen, you will see buttons to print, email, save or cite this case.

Please contact a UMUC librarian if you need help with searching for Supreme Court Cases by Keyword, or for any of your research needs. We are available a number of ways including, instant messaging, phone and walk in visits, as well as 24/7 via email and live chat. Thank you for viewing this presentation.


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