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Federal Government Information: The Judiciary

Material available through the three branches of government.

The Supreme Court

Article III, § 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides that "[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." In accordance with this constitutional provision, the Supreme Court of the United States was created under the Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, 1 Stat. 73[2] with six Justices. The Court first assembled on February 1, 1790 in New York City, which was then the nation's Capital. The first cases, however, did not reach the Supreme Court until its second year. The earliest sessions were devoted to organizational proceedings. The Court expanded to nine members in 1869 (Judiciary Act of 1869, ch. 22, 16 Stat. 44[3]).
Article III, § 2 provides the Supreme Court with its judicial power.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; - to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; - to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; - to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; - to Controversies between two or more states; - between a State and Citizens of another State; - between Citizens of different States; - between citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
28 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.[4] and other special statutes confer jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.

Resources for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Official Website
United States Courts Opinions (FDsys) This covers appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, 2004 on.
Other Supreme Court Resources:
CQ Supreme Court Collection (Union Subscription)
A destination for authoritative information and data on cases, justices, and the history and power of the U.S. Supreme Court. Researchers will find the data and tools to answer questions about justices and their opinions and behavior.
The Cornell University Legal Information Institute
The National Archives Judicial Branch
Rules of the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court Historical Society


Judicial and Legal Resources

The ABA is committed to providing the public with information about the law, the courts and legal education.
Search provided by Martindale Hubbell
May be out of date but useful for some things.
NCJRS offers extensive reference and referral services to help you find answers to your questions about crime and justice-related research, policy, and practice. Search Questions & Answers to access hundreds of questions related to juvenile and criminal justice, victim assistance, substance abuse, and NCJRS services.
stablished in 1972, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide.
LII is a not-for-profit organization that believes everyone should be able to read and understand the laws that govern them, without cost. They carry out this vision by:
Publishing law online, for free.
Creating materials that help people understand law.
Exploring new technologies that make it easier for people to find the law.
They are a small research, engineering, and editorial group housed at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY. Their collaborators include publishers, legal scholars, computer scientists, government agencies, and other groups and individuals that promote open access to law, worldwide.
This page illustrates the use of searchable legal indexes on the World Wide Web. Only specifically legal indexes in the U.S. are included. Please note that many of the search tools here have additional search options available and that to derive full benefit from them you should visit the original sites directly.
This page simply links to search tools at other sites. The search results returned from each site vary in quality depending on the search tool in use.
Supreme Court site with cases from 1792-present
The new website presents quick links to all major sources for U.S. Court opinions including sites for recent years, sites for recent and historical years, and subscription sites. It also presents direct links to court opinion sites of specific U.S. courts such as the U.S. courts of appeals as well links to opinion sites to those courts before the 1990's. Each specific's court's abbreviation and city location can also be found and there is an example of how new slip opinions can be cited.
Compiled and maintained by Rick McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian, Federal Reserve Board, on behalf of LLSDC's Federal Law Librarians Special Interest Section.
Justia provides free case law, codes, regulations, statutes, and legal information, along with blogs, alerts, opinion summaries, federal dockets.

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