Finding U.S. Court Cases

The opinions of the court are initially published as individual decisions, called "slip opinions," which are then bound into volumes called "reporters".

Supreme Court

Slip opinions from the Supreme Court cases are cumulated into paper bound "advance sheets" and then bound into the United States Reports. The bound reports are also reprinted, with additional notes, in two different series -- the Supreme Court Reporter and the Lawyers' Edition of the Supreme Court Reports. WTAMU faculty, staff, and students may use LexisNexis Academic or Westlaw Campus to find Supreme Court cases over the Internet. Patrons not affiliated with WTAMU should try the other resources listed below.

LexisNexis Academic - Federal Case Law (WTAMU only)
Full text of all Supreme Court cases since 1790 and all Supreme Court briefs since 1970. Searchable by citation, case name, or full text. Make sure the Court field is set to Supreme Court and read the Search Tips.
Westlaw Campus (WTAMU only)
Full text of all Supreme Court cases since 1945. Searchable by citation, case name, full text, or the West Key Number System. Make sure you select Supreme Court Cases after 1944. You will be required to accept an online license agreement to access the database. Click on the icon for scope of coverage for help on searching. Access to this database is limited, so please log off when you are finished.

The Cornette Library no longer receives paper slip opinions. Instead, recent Supreme Court cases can be found on the Internet at:

Supreme Court Opinions, 1999 - present.
From the Supreme Court's official Web site. Includes the text of all Supreme Court slip opinions since 1999. Updated as new opinions are reached. Organized by term and then by date. PDF versions of the United States Reports are also available from vol. 502 (1991) on (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Supreme Court Decisions, 1990 - present.
Text of all Supreme Court decisions from 1990 to the present. Updated as new opinions are released. Overall index by subject heading or keyword. Individual years are indexed by party name.

Older Supreme Court cases can be found at:

Selected Historic Decisions of the Supreme Court, 1793 - 1990.
610 of the Supreme Court's most important decisions. Indexes organized by topic, case name, and opinion author. Also includes special subject collections on the "Amistad" case, administrative law, copyright, and patents.
FLITE Supreme Court Decisions, 1937 - 1975.
Database of all US Supreme Court decisions from 1937 to 1975. Search by case name or keyword. Be sure to read the hints section to help format your search.
FindLaw: Cases and Codes: Supreme Court Opinions, 1893 - present.
All Supreme Court decisions from 1893 (volume 150 of the United States Reports) to the present. Browsable by year or volume number. Searchable by citation, case name, or full text.
United States Reports (US), 1789 - present
JU 6.8: (Documents)
The official reporter for cases from the United States Supreme Court. The Cornette Library has the Lawyers' Edition reprint for volumes 1-105 and West's Supreme Court Reporter edition for volumes 106-298. To find the parallel citation in one of the unofficial reporters, use the table at the beginning of the volume ("Supreme Court Reporter References" in the Supreme Court Reporter and "Reference Table" in Lawyers' Edition) to transfer from the official citation to the proper page number in the unofficial volume at hand.

[top]

Court of Appeals

Texas is a part of the Fifth Circuit of the Court of Appeals. WTAMU affiliated patrons may use LexisNexis Academic or Westlaw Campus to find circuit court cases over the Internet. Other patrons can find the most recent opinions of the Fifth Circuit on the Internet. Older decisions as well as the official versions of decisions will be found in the Federal Reporter.

LexisNexis Academic - Federal Case Law (WTAMU only)
Full text of all Circuit Court cases since 1789. Searchable by citation, case name, or full text. Make sure the Court field is set to Court of Appeals and read the Search Tips.
Westlaw Campus (WTAMU only)
Full text of all Circuit Court cases since 1789. Searchable by citation, case name, full text, or the West Key Number System. Make sure you select All Federal Cases for cases prior to 1945. You will be required to accept an online license agreement to access the database. Click on the icon for scope of coverage for help on searching. Access to this database is limited, so please log off when you are finished.
USCA5 Opinions
Archive of decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1992 on. Includes docket sheets and selected court documents. Searchable by keyword, date released, or title.
Court Links (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)
Map showing the regions administered by the various circuit courts and related federal sites. Includes links to the various circuit court Web sites.
Federal Reporter, 2nd and 3rd series (F2d or F3d), 1960 - 1998 (Cancelled in 1998)
KF110.F42 (Reference)
Contains opinions from the federal circuit court of appeals.

[top]

District Courts

Amarillo is part of the Northern District of Texas. WTAMU-affiliated patrons may use LexisNexis Academic or Westlaw Campus to find District Court cases over the Internet. Other patrons can find selected notable decisions on the Internet. Other decisions as well as those of other federal district courts can be found in the Federal Supplement.

LexisNexis Academic - Federal Case Law (WTAMU only)
Full text of all U.S. District court cases from 1789. Searchable by citation, case name, or full text. Make sure the Court field is set to District Courts and read the Search Tips.
Westlaw Campus (WTAMU only)
Full text of all U.S. District Court cases since 1789. Searchable by citation, case name, full text, or the West Key Number System. Make sure you select All Federal Cases for cases prior to 1945. You will be required to accept an online license agreement to access the database. Click on the icon for scope of coverage for help on searching. Access to this database is limited, so please log off when you are finished.
United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
General information from the court and selected notable decisions.
Federal Judiciary Homepage: Links
Links to Circuit, District, bankruptcy, and other courts and offices of the federal judiciary.
Federal Supplement, 1st and 2nd series (FSupp or FSupp2d)
Available at the Potter County Law Library.
Contains opinions from the federal district courts. Does not report all decisions made.

Any questions? Ask a Librarian, or call us at 806/651-2205.

[top]