How to Find United States Legal Information: Case Law

Finding and documenting U.S. Legal Information

What is Case Law?

Case law is the "law to be found in the collection of reported cases that form all or part of the body of law within a given jurisdiction". Black's Law Dictionary, 9th edition. For more information about the Federal Court system, see About Federal Courts from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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United States Supreme Court

Find Supreme Court Cases:

Other U.S Federal Courts

All U.S. Federal Courts In the federal court system’s present form, 94 district-level trial courts sit below the Supreme Court.  The 94 federal judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a court of appeals.  The appellate court’s task is to determine whether or not the law was applied correctly in the trial court. Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury.

Find cases in Federal District or Appellate Courts:

See also the United States Courts Opinions , a project of the Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. This site is designed to provide public access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period. Once an opinion is located, all associated opinions within the same case can be accessed from the opinion.

Search Tips for Nexis Uni

  • Use quotation marks for phrases, Boolean operators to combine terms, and the truncation symbol (!) to get multiple endings.

Example: "representational equality" AND apportion!

  • Use the ATLEAST command to require that a word or words appear 'at least' so many times in a document. 

Example: atleast5("one person one vote") 

  • Click "Advanced Options" to limit by a date range, area of law, or segment (such as footnotes) 

See also Search Connectors Quick Reference Card

Search Tips for HeinOnline

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Example: Texas AND "voting rights"

  • Use a tilde ~ and a number to find words within a set number of spaces from each other: 

Example: "person vote restrictions"~10

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  • Use the Citation Navigator and the Citation Format Guide under the CITATION tab.

For more search tips, see HeinOnline Search Guide