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Law Library News for Oct. 4, 1999

Mary Whisner, editor

Law Library News Archive


First Monday in October

This week's Library News column focuses on the United States Supreme Court.

Why now? Because the first Monday in October is when the Supreme Court�s Term begins. (See 28 U.S.C. �2; S. Ct. R. 3.) (Did anyone see the movie, "First Monday in October"? It starred Walter Matthau as a liberal justice who clashes with a conservative justice (Jill Clayburgh). It appeared in 1981, the year Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Court.

Court Watching

How can you keep up with the hot cases that the Court will work on this year? One source is Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, published by the American Bar Association. As the title suggests, this previews cases that are coming up. Short articles, by attorneys and law professors, summarize the cases, with the headings Issues, Facts, Case Analysis, and Significance. The current print copy is in the Reference Office, KF101.1 .P7. This publication is also available on both LEXIS-NEXIS and WESTLAW.

United States Law Week is a weekly newsletter that follows legal developments around the country. The Supreme Court binder gives detailed coverage of the Court, listing cases for which petitions for certiorari have been filed, granted, and denied and -- once the Court gets rolling -- summarizing oral arguments and printing the opinions.

Do you want a quick review of the last Term? Read Law Week's series:

  • "Federal and State Powers," 68 U.S.L.W. 3001
  • "Federal Practice and Procedure," 68 U.S.L.W. 3017
  • "Employment Law," 68 U.S.L.W. 3060
  • "Business Regulation," 68 U.S.L.W. 3071
  • "Education, Land Use Regulation," 68 U.S.L.W. 3103
  • "Criminal Law," 68 U.S.L.W. 3119

United States Law Week, is available in print at Reserve and in the Reference Office, KF105.1 .U5. It is also available on both LEXIS-NEXIS and WESTLAW.

Supreme Court Briefs: See How the Pros Do It

A fun set to browse is Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States. Constitutional Law (KF101.9.L36 at Reference Stacks). Here you can read the briefs in significant cases -- from Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland (both in volume 1) to Clinton v. Jones (vol. 260), Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (vol. 261), and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission (vol. 262).

That set just has the briefs in selected cases, but the Law Library has more comprehensive collections of Supreme Court briefs. From 1936, we have copies (in paper) of the actual briefs filed with the Court. They are stored in the basement. To read the briefs for a case, fill out a request form at the Circulation Desk. (You'll need the docket number, the reporter citation, and the year of decision.) We also have Supreme Court briefs in microfilm and microfiche, arranged by docket number.

Supreme Court briefs from recent years are available on LEXIS-NEXIS (9/79 to date) and WESTLAW (1990-91 Term to date). You can search in many ways, for example, by the name of the case or by the docket number. Try one of these searches: counsel(joan w/2 fitzpatrick). counsel(eric w/2 schnapper).

The Supreme Court on the Web

The Law Library�s list of Internet Legal Resources includes links to several Supreme Court sites under the heading " United States Legal Materials and Sites -- Court Opinions and Other Judicial Material."

Cornell has been a leader in providing access to Supreme Court material on the Web. Follow the link from our list or go directly to Cornell's Supreme Court Collection. In addition to the information on its website, Cornell offers current awareness services -- you can sign up to get the official syllabi of Supreme Court cases to be sent to you via email, as the cases are announced.


If you want to use the Internet and email from home, you might want to purchase the UW Internet Connectivity Kit (UWICK), available for $17 from the University Book Store. It is on a single CD ROM that has software for both Mac and IBM compatible computers.

Some of you might already have Internet access through another method (e.g., America Online). If so, why bother with UWICK? It will make some applications (like your UW email account) easier to use. It can save you money if you do not have to subscribe to another Internet Service Provider. Significantly, it will also give you more access to databases. For instance, the Law Library subscribes to LegalTrac for your use. If you visit our website from outside the UW (e.g., via America Online), the host computer will not recognize you as an authorized user. However, if you visit our website using the software you get on UWICK, then you have full access. The same is true for the law school exams that the Library loads on the web for you.

For more information about UWICK, see Computing and Networkworking's page on UWICK.