COLWRIT 50: Researching Water in the West

Basic Government/Legal Sources

Library home > Libraries and Collections A-Z > Government Information > Federal:  Supreme Court/Judiciary

and

Library home > Libraries and Collections A-Z > Government Information > California Government > Judicial Branch

 

Historical Government Information on Hetch Hetchy

American Memory (Library of Congress)

Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

ProQuest Congressional

One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present. For more information on how to find hearings, consult the Congressional Tutorials homepage

 

Intro to Finding Court Cases

First, you need to know what court(s) handled the case in question.  The Federal court system consists of:

Supreme Court
13 Courts of Appeal
94 District Courts

Each state has its own judicial system, usually including a state Supreme Court.

Each court decides which of its decisions will be published. 

  • The US Supreme Court publishes all decisions
  • Appeals Courts publish many decisions
  • ...the lower you go in the hierarchy, the fewer decisions are published.  Trial courts and county courts - you may have to go to the court itself or the county itself for decisions.

Published decisions:  use Lexis-Nexis Academic   ("Look up a legal case")

Besides the decisions, major documents in Supreme Court cases may be published; see:

Documents for other courts are much harder to access, and usually require an in-person visit to access the documents.  The UCB Law Library has databases that may include this information but these databases are often restricted to current law students.

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Last Update: September 12, 2013 11:10