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Legal Cases: Home

This guide explains how to find the text of court cases in the Mack Library. It first explains how to read legal citations and then gives strategies for finding the case in the library’s print collections as well as in its databases.

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Cases in Print

Finding Cases in Print

By Citation

To find a Supreme Court case in the Mack Library’s print collection, you will need to convert the citation to the official reports of the Supreme Court (U.S.) to a citation to the United States Supreme Court Reports: Lawyers’ Edition, first or second series (L.Ed. or L.Ed.2d). You can find the lawyers’ edition of the Supreme Court reports with this call number: REF 345.4 Un3rs.

To convert a citation, look for the volume number of the citation to U.S. on the spine of L.Ed.2d. Suppose you’re looking for the case Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509. By browsing the spines of L.Ed.2d, you find that volume 158 contains cases from U.S. volumes 540 and 541.

Once you’ve found the right volume, you can look up your case in the “Table of Parallel References,” near the front of the volume. That table has the cases listed by their page number order in U.S., and it give the page number for L.Ed.2d as well. Tennessee v. Lane can be found on page 820.

In the text of the lawyers’ edition, you see markings like this: [540 U.S. 820]. Those markings indicate the beginning of a new page in the official reports of the Supreme Court, so that you can find exact pages in that edition.

By Party

If you need to find a case but know only its name and not its citation, you can find it in the lawyers’ edition Quick Case Table (QCT). This table gives the citations to U.S., L.Ed.2d, and S.Ct., as well  as selected other cases that cite the case you have looked up. You can look up the case by either party’s name.

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Shawn Smith