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Sources of U.S. Federal Law  

Last Updated: Dec 19, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Online Resources

Last revised 12/2017


(See also the FedLaw site at the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, which has specific links to laws, regulations, & other sources arranged under subjects.)

U.S. Federal Constitution

  • Constitution (at NARA) | Constitution (at Cornell) | Constitution (at Thomas)
  • Constitution of the U.S.A., Analysis & Interpretation:   at FDSys, at Findlaw and as CRS Annotated Constitution at Cornell LII.   This work, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provides extensive annotations to the Constitution, with references to U.S. Supreme Court cases.   The Findlaw version merges the 1996, 1998, and 2000 supplements with the 1992 edition text, and gives links from the case citations to the full opinions, but omits some prefatory and appended material found in the full original version at FDSys, such as texts of proposed but unratified amendments, lists of federal and state acts held unconstitutional, and a list of overruled Supreme Court decisions.
  • The Founders' Constitution (at Univ. of Chicago Press)   A major collection of the writings of the Founders, arranged under the relevant clauses of the Constitution.
  • Declaration of Independence

U.S. Federal Statutes & Legislative Information

U.S. Federal Regulations

U.S. Presidential Documents

U.S. Federal Court Decisions, Briefs, Arguments

Supreme Court

Case Reports

  • Casetext, Free legal research database including Supreme Court cases, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals cases (1925--), and Federal District Court cases (1925--). 
  • CORNELL LII Supreme Court page includes cases 1990 forward and selected historic cases.
  • Findlaw has U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1760 forward
  • HeinOnline U.S. Supreme Court Library (Rutgers-restricted access). Decisions from 1754 forward, including slip opinions (though not quite as current as the Supreme Court site); also has monographs and periodicals concerning the Court and its decisions.
  • JUSTIA.COM U.S. Supreme Court Center. Decisions from 1759 forward, searchable and browsable, easy to use.
  • Ravel Law, Case law database with cases from the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, Federal District Courts, and state courts.  Requires creation of an account but has a free option for basic case law databases.
  • SCOTUS BLOG Archive: Orders & Opinions, October 2007 forward; may have bench opinions posted before slip opinions are on the Supreme Court site.

Briefs, Arguments, & Other Information on Supreme Court Cases

  • Oral Arguments - includes transcripts from 2000 term forward, and audio from 2010 term forward (on U.S. Supreme Court web site)
  • Briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases, Oct.1999 Term forward (at Findlaw)
  • Dates of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions . . . 1791-1882 Table supplying decision dates omitted from original reports.
  • The Oyez Project, Northwestern University Includes audio recordings of the arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, and extensive biographical information on the current Justices.
  • SCOTUS BLOG (Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP): news, commentary and analysis of the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court Database Includes case-centered and justice-centered datasets, for cases from the 1946 term forward, analyzable online or downloadable.
  • Preview of U.S. Supreme Court Cases (American Bar Association, Division for Public Education). The full current Preview is available by subscription. The public web site includes: selected articles from the current issue; archived issues from Oct.2007 to May 2008; briefs in argued cases from 2003-04 term forward.
  • Voices of American Law (at Duke University School of Law). For a dozen-and-a-half important Supreme Court cases, this site supplies video interviews with one or more parties; for some of the cases, the site includes joint appendices or trial transcripts, complaints and judgments.

Courts of Appeals

  • United States Courts Opinions.  Selected opinions from United States Courts of Appeals, District Courts, and Bankruptcy Courts, from 2004 onward.
  • PACER Service Center. Includes PACER documentation, PACER registration, and links to the PACER sites of the individual Courts of Appeals, District Courts, and Bankruptcy Courts, as well as the U.S. Party/Case Index.
  • U.S.Court of Appeals for Third Circuit Decisions, May 1994-- (Villanova Law Library)
  • U.S.Courts Links Page To get link to a Court of Appeals website, first select Court of Appeals and Search By Circuit, choose circuit in menu, and click Search. In results, click on link under "Location"; resulting display includes a link to court's website. Or just use this pattern URL:
  • Federal Circuits (VLex) All Circuits from 1949 forward.
  • Images of Federal Reporter [1st series] volumes 1 to 95 (1880 to 1899); and HTML versions of cases starting with F.2d volume 178 (1950); searchable and browsable.

District Courts

  • United States Courts Opinions.  Selected opinions from United States Courts of Appeals, District Courts, and Bankruptcy Courts, from 2004 onward.
  • Justia Dockets & Filings [beta] Interface for searching and browsing listings of federal District Court and Court of Appeals cases from 2004 forward; includes downloaded free opinions, and direct links to the cases in PACER.
  • PACER Service Center. Includes PACER documentation, PACER registration, and links to the PACER sites of the individual Courts of Appeals, District Courts, and Bankruptcy Courts
  • PACER Case Locator (PACER login required). Nationwide search by party name or case number; for Appellate or Civil cases, also allows search by Nature of Suit.
  • PACER Nature of Suit Codes (list in HTML at 2nd Circuit)
  • PACER: New Jersey District site ("U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, [LIVE] Document Filing System") Includes written opinions, approximately 2005 forward, viewable without charge by users of PACER. After logging in with PACER login, click "Reports," and choose the option "Written Opinions." (To acquire a PACER account, go to the PACER Service Center.)
  • RECAP Archive: Free access to some U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Court case documents.
  • U.S.Courts Links Page To get link to a District Court website, click on the map; in resulting list, click on the link under "Location"; resulting display includes link to court's website. Opinion availability varies among Districts.
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Opinions, Oct.1998-- (at Rutgers-Newark Law Library) Caution: this site does not include all opinions issued by the court during the period of coverage.
  • Federal District Court Civil Trials (Inter-University Consortium for Political & Social Research).   Database of about 3.7 million federal district court cases terminated July 1978 to Sept.1997; can generate statistics including duration, win rates, median & mean award amounts, based on case category, date, district, trial mode, & other variables.

Specialized Courts

U.S. Federal Court Rules

U.S. Federal Court-Related Information

U.S. Judicial Conduct Code & Decisions

U.S. Federal Administrative Decisions

(See also the Administrative Decisions page at Univ.of Virginia; and the "Agency Guidance Table" the Agency Index page at WashLaw; and the U.S. Federal-Executive collection at LLMC-Digital.)


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