The United States Supreme Court is back in session this week, and we’re marking the occasion with a quick rundown on the best places to locate briefs filed before the highest court of the land.
SupremeCourt.gov. The Supreme Court’s official website, supremecourt.gov, is a great place to start for recent and current cases. Dockets are available for cases filed since the 2001 term, but briefs are only available if they were filed electronically after November 13, 2017. For briefs before November 13, 2017, you will need to look elsewhere Hover your mouse over “Case Documents” on the top navigation menu and select “Docket Search.” Search by party name or docket number if you have it. Supreme Court docket numbers are constructed as the last two digits of the term year, then a hyphen, then the case number (e.g., 23-296).
Lexis+. All briefs for cases granted certiorari beginning with the 1994-1995 term are on the platform. Selected coverage goes back to 1936.
Westlaw. Selected coverage begins with 1930.
ProQuest Supreme Court Insight. Great for more advanced searching if you are doing more than pulling up a brief for a specific case. Coverage begins with the 1974/75 term.
Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs. The best resource for older cases with coverage from 1832-1978. This database has records from most, but not all, cases from that time period.
Bloomberg Law. Bloomberg Law has selected coverage of briefs before 2015.
Other places to find briefs. Government entities such as the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office and nonprofit organizations that file amicus curiae briefs often archive copies on their respective websites. Briefs filed by law professors or other individuals are sometimes posted on SSRN.