Politics of Judicial Interpretation

Contemplation of Justice by James Earle Fraser, via Wikimedia Commons

This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for Politics of Judicial Interpretation.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Daniel Kato

Personal Librarian 
Jennie Correia
Social Sciences Librarian
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Supreme Court Cases
Journal Articles/Databases 
Government Info 
Writing & Citing

Finding Supreme Court Cases and Analysis

  • Supreme Court of the United State is the Court's official website.  The docket page provides information regarding the status of cases filed since the beginning of the 2001 Term. Users can search by using a Supreme Court docket number, a case name, or other words or numbers included on a docket report. There are also links to court rules, opinions, and orders. Opinions are posted within minutes after the bench opinions are issued and remain posted until the opinions for the entire Term are published in the bound volumes of the United States Reports

  • Findlaw offers a searchable database of Supreme Court opinions since 1760. Browsable by Court and searchable by citation, case name, docket number, and full text.

  • Legal Information Institute (LII) from Cornell University Law School provides access to current U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1990 and a selection of over 300 historic decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. Finding aids include case name lists, topical lists, and authorship lists.

  • Oyez provides access to cases from 1789 to present. Oyez provides a summary of the facts of the case, question(s) presented, and the Court's conclusion, as well the citation for the case. Citations are linked to opinions provided by Justia. In addition, the Oyez Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. It provides biographical information on every justice throughout U.S. history.

  • Supreme Court Database gives 247 pieces of information for each case decided between the 1946 and 2014 terms. The information provided includes the following: "(1) identification variables (e.g., citations and docket numbers); (2) background variables (e.g., how the Court took jurisdiction, origin and source of the case, the reason the Court agreed to decide it); (3) chronological variables (e.g., the date of decision, term of Court, natural court); (4) substantive variables (e.g., legal provisions, issues, direction of decision); (5) outcome variables (e.g., disposition of the case, winning party, formal alteration of precedent, declaration of unconstitutionality); and (6) voting and opinion variables (e.g., how the individual justices voted, their opinions and interagreements)."

  • Supreme Court Yearbook from CQ Press provides analysis of every SCOTUS decision since the 1989-1990 term. You can find year-end overviews of Supreme Court terms through 2014-2015, case summaries of every opinion, essays on selected cases and the trends in each term, statistics on voting patterns and trends in constitutional law, and biographies of justices.

  • The Making of Modern Law: Supreme Court contains records and briefs brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in the period 1832-1978.

Finding Books - Catalogs

CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and some information from the Law Library. 

Catalog search tips:

If you know exactly what book (journal, video, etc.) you are looking for, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.

To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields.

  • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "judicial interpretation".

  • Use * for truncation (to find variant spellings and endings of a word): wom*n will find woman, women, womyn; feminis* will find feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.

  • For more complex search, use AND and OR:

    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered.

    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.

    • For more help with using AND and OR, check our guide to advanced/Boolean keyword searching.

  • Use parentheses to group terms:  "supreme court" AND ("birth control" OR contracepti*)

Find books and other materials in other libraries:

  • Pegasus: This is the catalog of the Columbia Law Library - you can search here directly. You can find law library materials in CLIO, but you need to click on the link to Pegasus to see if the book is available for you to check out.

  • WorldCat: Search for items in libraries worldwide.

  • Request items from other libraries through Borrow Direct or interlibrary loan (ILL).

Finding Journal Articles - Databases

There are hundreds of databases available through CLIO. You can use Find Articles (Summon) to search multiple databases simultaneously, including many listed below.

For off-campus access to library online resources, remember to follow the links from CLIO or this research guide. You can also use the proxy bookmarklet.

Database search tips:

  • The general search tips for CLIO also apply to the article databases. 

  • If you find an article or a book that is relevant, the bibliography/works cited page can be a useful road map to other relevant literature that was previously published.  

  •  If you find an article or a book that is relevant, you can use Google Scholar and some other databases to find out whether it was cited by other scholars after it was published. Search for the title of an article/monograph and search and click on "Cited by" to generate a list of publications that have referenced that source.

  • In most databases, you can narrow your results to scholarly publications only. Look for "limit to ... scholarly publications/peer-reviewed/refereed publications only" or similar language. This will help you find articles from journals that have gone through a rigorous peer review process.  

Recommended Law Review Databases:

  • HeinOnline provides comprehensive coverage of more than 1,800 law and law-related periodicals.

  • LexisNexis Academic also provides access to an extensive collection of law reviews, as well as news and analysis. To search full-text law reviews and journals, click on "Search by Subject or Topic" and look for "Legal" - click on the "Law Reviews" link. 

Recommended Scholarly Databases:

  • Contemporary Women's Issues provides full text access to information about women in over 190 countries, including journal and magazine articles, research reports, and fact sheets.

  • EconLit with Full Text provides comprehensive access to economic research, including journal articles, books, dissertations, and working papers. 

  • GenderWatch provides abstracts and the full text of journal articles covering the topics of feminism, women’s studies, gender studies, and LGBTQ studies.  

  • International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) provides citations and abstracts for political science journal articles and yearbooks, including international affairs.

  • PAIS Archive and PAIS International features public affairs research, including references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical sources, research reports, conference proceedings, and publications of international agencies. 

  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts contains abstracts of books, scholarly journal articles, and major news magazine articles covering North American and international politics.

Finding News 

  • Alt-Press Watch provides full text access to articles from over 210 alternative and independent press publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals. Subject areas covered include politics, arts and culture, environment, religion, labor, and literature. Coverage extends as far back as 1970.

  • Jurist is a web-based legal news and real-time research services provided by law students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

  • liibulletin: The LII Supreme Court Bulletin is a free e-journal written by law students at Cornell Law School that publishes case previews in advance of oral argument, syllabi of decided cases, and other information. 

  • SCOTUSblog provides very current information about Supreme Court daily activites, as well as analysis of decisions. 

  • The Third Branch is the monthly newsletter of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. 

Finding Poll Results

  • Gallup Polls conducts public opinion polls on political, social, and economic issues. You also have access to Gallup Analytics. Email dssc@library.columbia.edu to schedule a time to use this database. Access is available Monday through Friday in the Digital Social Science Center.

  • iPoll databank @ the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research provides nationwide public opinion from 1935 to present. Surveys archived in the Roper Catalog were originally gathered by academic, commercial and media survey organizations such as Gallup Organization, Harris Interactive, Pew Research Associates, and many more.

  • Pew Research Center is a think tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.

  • Polling the Nations has polls taken on a variety of subjects conducted from 1986 through the present in the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world.

Finding Additional Government Information 

  • Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. Congressional documents from the first 100 years of the U.S. Congress (1774-1875) can be accessed through Century of Lawmaking.

  • Congressional Resarch Reports and Issue Briefs are an excellent source of background information on issues facing Congress and the Courts. 

  • CQ:

    • ​CQ publishes a wide array of databases that could be relevant to your research, ranging from the CQ Voting and Elections Collection to CQ Homeland Security. On CLIO, search the databases for "CQ"

    • CQ.com tracks legislation before Congress and alerts users to late-breaking news and updated Hill schedules, status of bills and bill summaries, committee coverage with votes and markups, transcripts of select oral testimony and all written submitted testimony, votes analysis, member biographies, daily news wrap-up, nonpartisan articles on policy topics, status of bills, comparisons of competing versions of bills, and coverage of appropriations.

  • ProQuest Congressional indexes information produced by or pertaining to the United States Congress from 1789 to the present. You can find the full text for many titles, generally from the early 1990's to the present. The database includes bills, laws, legislative histories, committee prints, House and Senate documents and reports, the Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, and Federal Register. It also includes the full text of Congressional Research Service reports, 1916-present; full text of Congressional hearings, 1824-present; full text of Committee Prints, 1830-2003; and full text of the Serial Set Collection with Maps, 1789-1969.

Writing and Citing

  • The American Political Science Association (APSA) publishes a style manual for political science. It is currently being revised, but the old style manual is available.

  • Barnard guides to citation management has information about helpful software programs like Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.

  • Cite Source presents information about how to cite various sources in a visual way, and they offer guidance on citing tricky source like government agency reports, House and Senate committee debates and hearings, and other. Check out the source help for APA, APSA, Chicago, and MLA styles.

  • The Craft of Research is an online book that can help guide you through the full research process.

  • Introduction to Basic Legal Citation provides a basic introduction to the what and why of legal citations, providing samples based on the 20th edition of The Bluebook (2015). Follow the links on the left to "EXAMPLES - CITATIONS OF ... Judicial Opinions", and then follow the link to "Supreme Court". 

  • Oyez provides easy to find, basic citation information for each case. 

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides writing tips and techniques, research advice, and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.​


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Last updated February 2, 2016