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U.S. Supreme Court

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


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.


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. The collection also includes paid cases from 1975 to present in which the petition for writ of certiorari was denied. For the current term, the database will be adding material on an ongoing basis while a case is pending before the Court. Content associated with each case is compiled on a dynamic page organized to facilitate understanding of the judicial process and is also retrievable on a document by document basis.

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:


U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs (1960 to 2010):

  • Selected briefs in print
  • Subset of microfiche holdings
  • Housed offsite


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.