United States Federal & State Courts

Search the Federal Courts


The availability of judicial opinions on-line has increased substantially over the course of the last seven years. Most federal courts, including all circuit courts, and many state courts now have Internet home pages sponsored by various educational and commercial entities; however, the databases of these judicial opinions tend only to cover the last few years, negating the possibility of conducting comprehensive research. The exception to the problem of limited availability of caselaw is the U. S. Supreme Court, which now has decisions on-line dating back to 1937 at multiple sources.

Private Sector

The most extensive Internet-accessible databases of judicial opinions at the federal and state levels presently are available only through private fee-based providers such as LEXIS®-NEXIS®, WESTLAW®, and VERSUSLAW. West Publishing has released Westlaw by Credit Card enables retrieval of state and federal cases on a per decision basis.

Public Sector

The Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts maintains the Directory of Electronic Public Access Services, which provides information on automated access to U. S. federal and state court information and records. Almost every court in the United States has a dial-up BBS, but almost none of these courts has made the Internet transition. The most substantial coordinated government service of judicial opinions is PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) which allows any user with a personal computer and modem to dial into a district or bankruptcy court computer and retrieve official electronic case information and court dockets. User fee charges for this service have been instituted in most courts.

United States Supreme Court

Freely Accessible Online Archives U. S. Supreme Court Decisions 1890-Present
U. S. Supreme Court Decisions 1937-1995
U. S. Supreme Court Decisions 1937-1995
U. S. Supreme Court Decisions 1966-1996
U. S. Supreme Court Decisions 1990-Present

Supreme Court Primary Materials

United States Constitution, Article III
28 U.S.C. Chapter 81, Supreme Court
28 U.S.C. § 1251. Original jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1252. Repealed.
28 U.S.C. § 1253. Direct appeals from decisions of three-judge courts.
28 U.S.C. § 1254. Courts of appeals; certiorari; certified questions.
28 U.S.C. § 1255, 1256. Repealed.
28 U.S.C. § 1257. State courts; certiorari.
28 U.S.C. § 1258. Supreme Court of Puerto Rico; certiorari.
28 U.S.C. § 1259. Court of Military Appeals; certiorari.

United States Supreme Court: Summary of Online Resources

Legal researchers interested in the U. S. Supreme Court have a plethora of on-line options available to them.

FindLaw, Inc., offers a searchable database of Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1890 (U. S. Supreme Court Decisions: 1890-present). This free service from FindLaw allows research by year, U. S. Reports volume number and citation, case title, and full text. FindLaw's Supreme Court database represents the best option for Internet researchers due to its comprehensiveness, powerful search options, and unlike the Infosynthesis database, the opinions are displayed and loaded in their entirety, which makes it much easier to print or to save the full text quickly.

In September 1996, the U.S. Air Force released a collection of Supreme Court decisions from its FLITE ("Federal Legal Information Through Electronics") system to the United States Office of Management and Budget. The FLITE collection consists of more than 7000 Supreme Court opinions dating from 1937 through 1975, from volumes 300 through 422 of U. S. Reports. The decisions are available on-line directly from two sources: the FedWorld/FLITE Supreme Court Decisions Homepage, a production of the U. S. Department of Commerce, and the Villanova University School of Law FLITE Database Archive. The Villanova site offers a special function not offered by FedWorld that allows any decision in the Villanova FLITE database to be faxed, free of charge, anywhere within the 202, 215, 302, 609, and 610 area codes. The only problem with the FLITE database is that the text of the opinions is in all capital letters.

InfoSynthesis, Inc., maintains a database of Supreme Court decisions including complete coverage from 1938 to present plus some 300 additional earlier leading cases dating as far back as 1793. For $6.95 per case, Internet users may download an opinion in rich text format (RTF) or in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). The company also sells a CD-ROM of USSC opinions.

Cornell University's Legal Information Institute has placed the Rules of the U. S. Supreme Court on the Internet.

ILRG offers a collection of Biographical Profiles of the Current Supreme Court Justices.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
Associate Justice David Hackett Souter
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.

Supreme Court of the United States
First Street, N.E.
Washington, D. C. 20543

Telephone: (202) 479-3011

U. S. Federal Circuit Courts: All Known Contact & Access Information

Staff Note: For each circuit court below, more than one web site is available to the public at which opinions may be accessed for download or text searches. The hypertext link located above the physical address for each circuit court represents the more (or most) comprehensive database currently freely accessible via the Internet.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U. S. Courthouse
3rd & Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

Telephone: (202) 273-0310

URL: http://www.ll.georgetown.edu/federal/judicial/cadc.cfm [February 1995-Present, Georgetown]

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
1606 John W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse
Boston, MA 02109

Telephone: (617) 223-9057

(Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico)

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/1circuit [November 1995-Present, Emory]

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U. S. Courthouse, Foley Square
40 Center Street
New York, NY 10007

Telephone: (212) 791-0103

(Connecticut, New York, Vermont)

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Independence Mall West
21400 U. S. Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Telephone: (215) 597-2905

(Delaware, New Jersey, Virgin Islands, Pennsylvania)

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Tenth & Main Streets
Richmond, VA 23219

Telephone: (804) 771-2213

(Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, West Virginia)

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/4circuit [January 1995-Present, Emory]

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
100 U. S. Courthouse
600 Camp Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Telephone: (504) 589-6514

(Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas)

URL: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/ [January 1992-Present, 5th Circuit]

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
502 U. S. Post Office and Courthouse Building
5th & Walnut Streets
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Telephone: (513) 584-2953

(Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee)

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit [January 1995-Present, Emory]

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604

Telephone: (312) 435-5850

(Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin)

United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit
511 U. S. Court & Custom House
1114 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63101

Telephone: (314) 539-3609

(Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North & South Dakota)

URL: http://www.wulaw.wustl.edu/8th.cir/ [November 1995-Present, Washington University]

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
P. O. Box 547
San Francisco, CA 94101

Telephone: (415) 744-6150

(Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, North Mariana Island, Guam)

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
The Byron White United States Courthouse
1823 Stout Street
Denver, CO 80257

Telephone: (303) 844-3157

(Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming)

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/10circuit [August 1995-Present, Emory]

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
56 Forsyth Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303

Telephone: (404) 331-6187

(Alabama, Florida, Georgia)

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/11circuit [November 1994-Present, Emory]

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
717 Madison Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20439

Telephone: (202) 633-6550

URL: http://www.law.emory.edu/fedcircuit/ [August 1995-Present, Emory]

United States Federal Courts: Search Tools

Internet Sleuth's U. S. Courts Index
Meta-Index for U. S. Legal Research
Search All Internet Databases of U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions via LII
Search All Internet Databases of U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions via LJX

United States Federal Courts: Other Resources

U. S. Federal Courts Finder: Map of the United States
U. S. Federal Courts Home Page
Understanding the Federal Courts

American State Courts

State Supreme Courts

Supreme Court of Alaska
Supreme Court of Alaska (Slip Opinions)
Supreme Court of Arkansas
Supreme Court of California
Supreme Court of Colorado
Supreme Court of Florida
Supreme Court of Georgia
Supreme Court of Idaho
Supreme Court of Illinois
Supreme Court of Indiana
Supreme Court of Iowa
Supreme Court of Louisiana
Supreme Court of Maryland
Supreme Court of Michigan
Supreme Court of Minnesota
Supreme Court of Mississippi
Supreme Court of Missouri
Supreme Court of Montana
Supreme Court of New Hampshire
Supreme Court of New York
Supreme Court of North Carolina
Supreme Court of North Dakota
Supreme Court of Ohio
Supreme Court of Oklahoma
Supreme Court of Oregon
Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Supreme Court of South Carolina
Supreme Court of South Dakota
Supreme Court of Tennessee
Supreme Court of Utah
Supreme Court of Vermont
Supreme Court of Virginia
Supreme Court of Washington
Supreme Court of Wisconsin
Supreme Court of Wyoming

State Appellate Courts

Alaska Court of Appeals
Alaska Court of Appeals (Slip Opinions)
Arkansas Court of Appeals
California Court of Appeals
Idaho Court of Appeals
Indiana Court of Appeals
Maryland Court of Appeals
Minnesota Court of Appeals
Mississippi Court of Appeals
North Carolina Court of Appeals
Tennessee Court of Appeals
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Utah Court of Appeals
Washington Court of Appeals
Wisconsin Court of Appeals

Courts Around the World

Corte Suprema de Justicia (Argentina)