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U.S. Supreme Court

A great place to start your research on the U.S. Supreme Court and its decisions.

Briefs

NB:  Failing these sources, to get copies of cert petitions in cases where cert was denied, patrons may need to contact the Supreme Court Clerk's Office at (202) 479-3011 and have the docket number. It is likely that the patron will need to have someone physically go there and copy the document.

Online:

Two main sources:

SCOTUSblog: Merit, amicus, and petition granted briefs from 2007 to date; PDF 

  • NB: older coverage may not be complete because of dead links to ABA (ABA site no longer provides Supreme Court briefs)

US Supreme Court > Docket Search: most filings submitted, including merit, amicus, and petition granted briefs, from Nov. 13, 2017 to date; PDF

  • Users can search by using a Supreme Court docket number, a case name, or other words or numbers included on a docket report. The format for Supreme Court docket numbers is "Term year-number" (e.g., 06-123; 07-12; 06-5001).

Other sources: 

Lexis+: Briefs, Pleadings, and Motions > Federal > U.S. Supreme Court Briefs

  • All briefs available for cases granted cert after 1993-1994 term; merit briefs for cases granted cert and special masters, amicus briefs, and joint appendices beginning in January 1979, with selected coverage from 1936.
  • Includes briefs petitioning for certiorari in civil cases (other than habeas cases) that are granted from the 1999-2000 term to date; for civil cases where cert. is denied, briefs are provided for cases on the paid docket but are not provided for cases on the In Forma Pauperis docket; no cert-stage briefs are provided for habeas cases or for criminal cases that are summarily decided or where cert. is denied.
  • PDF available from 2006 Term onward

Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States: Constitutional LawOnline via HathiTrust and KF 101.9 L35 

  • Selected briefs (petition, merit, and amicus)
  • 1793 to 2001

Office of the Solicitor General: All briefs from the OSG 1998 to date (PDF); selected older briefs 1982 to 1997 (html)

ProQuest Supreme Court Insight: Records and briefs from 1975. For the current term, the database will be adding material on an ongoing basis while a case is pending before the Court.

Appellate case files of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1792-1831:

U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs Digital Archive (MOML):

  • 1832 - 1978; PDF
  • Petition (including cert denied), merit, and amicus briefs
  • Also includes appendix or appendices

Westlaw: Briefs > U.S. Supreme Court:

Print:

U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (1960 to date):

  • Selected briefs in print, received as one of the Court's depositories
  • Subset of microfiche holdings
  • Housed offsite

Micro:

U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (1832 to date): Microfiche holdings

  • Microfiche set is more complete than the MOML digital archive
  • Merit and amicus briefs; cert. petitions coverage varies by date
  • 1832-1959: granted cert. petitions only; use index for 1832-1896; arranged by U.S. Reports citation for 1897-1959
  • 1960 to date: all cert. petitions; arranged by U.S. Reports citation for 1960-1972; arranged by docket number 1973 onward

 

Joint Appendix

The joint appendix or appendices includes the relevant docket entries; any relevant pleadings, jury instructions, findings, conclusions, or opinions; the judgment, order, or decision under review; and any other parts of the record that the parties wish to bring to the Court's attention. 

Lexis: joint appendices beginning in January 1979, with selected coverage from 1936.

Westlaw (SCT-JA): Selected joint appendices from 1982 to present.