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Historical Resources for U.S. and State Law   Tags: history, legal_history, legislative_history  

Sources of historical federal and state cases, legislation and regulations, as well as books, journals and newspapers.
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2014 URL: http://law.wisc.libguides.com/legalhistory Print Guide RSS Updates

Case Law -- Federal Print Page
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United States Supreme Court Reporters -- Print

United States Reports
- Coverage: 1789 - present
- Notes: The early volumes of United States Reports were originally published as separate reporters (Dallas, Cranch, Wheaton, Peters, Howard, Black and Wall). For example, volume 33 of United States Reports was originally volume 8 of Peters Reports, so you will see this volume cited 33 U.S. (8 Pet.) in newer writings, but simply 8 Pet. in older cases.


West's Supreme Court Reporter
- Coverage: 1882 - present

United States Supreme Court Reporters -- Online

 

Lower Federal Courts Reporters -- Print

Federal Cases
- Court(s): Circuit Courts of Appeal, District Courts
- Coverage: 1789-1879
- Notes: Early federal cases appeared in a variety of reporters, but were reprinted in Federal Cases, a retrospective companion to the Federal Reporter.

West's Federal Reporter
- Court(s): Circuit Courts of Appeal, District Courts (until 1932), etc.
- Coverage: 1st Series, 1880 - 1924; 2nd Series, 1924 - 1993; 3rd Series, 1993 - present

West’s Federal Supplement
- Court(s): District Courts (many district court cases are unreported)
- Coverage: 1st Series 1932- 1998; 2nd Series, 1998 - present

West’s Federal Rules Decisions
- Court(s): District Courts (cases construing Federal Rules of Civil Procedure & Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure)
- Coverage: 1939 - present

Lower Federal Courts Reporters -- Online

  • LexisNexis Academic
    - Court(s): Circuit Courts of Appeal, District Courts
    - Coverage: 1789 - present (varies by court)
    - Availability: Licensed access for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff
    - Notes: Click on the Legal tab at the top of the page
  • Westlaw Patron Access
    - Court(s): Circuit Courts of Appeal, District Courts
    - Coverage: 1789 - present (varies by court)
    - Availability: Law Building only
  • Sources of Free Case Law on the Internet
    - Court(s): Circuit Courts of Appeal
    - Coverage: 1924 - present
    - Availability: Free on Internet
 

Digests

United States Supreme Court Digest
- Court(s): U.S. Supreme Court
- Coverage: All United States Reports

Federal Digest
- Court(s): All federal courts
- Coverage: Pre 1939

Modern Federal Practice Digest
- Court(s): All federal courts
- Coverage: 1939 - 1960

West's Federal Practice Digest
- Court(s): All federal courts
- Coverage: 1961 - present

Case Citators

  • Shepards via LexisNexis Academic
    - Court(s): All federal and state
    - Coverage: 1789 - present
    - Availability: Licensed access for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff
    - Notes: Click on the Legal tab at the top of the page
  • KeyCite via Westlaw Patron Access
    - Court(s): All federal and state
    - Coverage: 1789 - present
    - Availability: Law Building only
 

Dockets & Filings

In addition to the opinions as appear in the reporters above, additional documents which were filed in a case may also be available, such as the complaint, briefs, etc.  The case docket will list a of the documents were filed in a case. 

Dockets are available electronically from the mid 1990s to the present.  UW law school faculty and staff may request access to Bloomberg Law which has a collection of federal and state dockets.  If you're not a UW law school faculty and staff member, contact a law librarian.

If you would like to see a copy of a case filing, please contact a law librarian.  We can help you determine the best way to obtain the document.  Note that there may be a fee involved.

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