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Law Library News for October 7, 2002

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Restrictions on Using Westlaw & LexisNexis

by Penny Hazelton & Nancy McMurrer

When you registered your LexisNexis ID and Westlaw password, you agreed to certain restrictions in your use of those products. Specifically, you agreed to limit yourself to "academic" or "educational" use only. But what does that mean, exactly? Here is a short definition.

Westlaw and LexisNexis may be used in research for a class for which you will receive academic credit, or in connection with unpaid work for a non-law school entity for which you will receive academic credit (EXTERNSHIPS). You may use LexisNexis and Westlaw in your work for a law school professor as a research or teaching assistant, even if you receive pay for such work. You may also use Westlaw and LexisNexis in connection with a law-school-approved law journal and in connection with activities relating to the Law School's Moot Court.

You may NOT use Westlaw or LexisNexis in any volunteer or unpaid work (unless you are receiving academic credit for it) and you may NOT use either service in connection with any paid work (unless you are working as a research or teaching assistant for a law professor).

United States Supreme Court Begins New Term

The first Monday in October (Oct. 7, 2002) marks the beginning of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2002-2003 Term. Some of the legal issues before the Court this year include:

  • California's "three strikes" law
  • Federal copyright term extension law
  • Sex offender registration statutes in Alaska and Connecticut
  • Mandatory detention provisions of the federal immigration laws
  • Virginia's cross burning statute

The following print and electronic sources provide analysis and summaries of pending cases, written by legal scholars and others.

  • United States Law Week is a weekly newsletter that follows legal developments around the country. The Supreme Court binder lists 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. The Supreme Court Today section includes a preview of the new Term and subject matter summaries of recently docketed cases. Available in print (KF105.1.U5 at Reserve & Reference Office) and on LexisNexis (BNA;USLW).
  • Preview of the United States Supreme Court Cases, from the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association, includes analysis by legal scholars of the issues, facts, and legal significance of each case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Available in print (KF101.1.P7, current issue at Reference Office) and on LexisNexis (ABA;PRE-VU) and Westlaw (SCT-PREVIEW).
  • On the Docket,, provides information on cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court including the legal questions presented to the Court, links to the lower court opinions, and news stories. Produced by the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.
  • United States Supreme Court,, the Court's official website, contains an automated docketing system (the Court's case-tracking system) with information about pending cases. You can search for cases by docket number, case name, or keyword.

Road trip anyone? Did you know oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court are open to the public? Seating is limited, so if you can make it to Washington, D.C., be sure to arrive at the courthouse early to secure yourself a seat.

The Court hears arguments on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, of selected weeks beginning in October and ending in April. At the arguments, an attorney for each side of the case makes a presentation to the Court and responds to questions from the Justices. Gallagher Law Library acquires copies of the briefs filed in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The schedule for oral arguments is available at:

Would you rather attend the oral argument virtually? The transcripts of oral arguments are available 10-15 days after the arguments via the following online sources:

  • Westlaw (SCT-ORALARG) and LexisNexis (GENFED;USTRAN)
  • the U.S. Supreme Court's website,
  • The Oyez Project,, allows you to listen to the oral arguments (digitized from the official transcripts) of over 588 cases. New cases appear about 10 months after a Term ends. Select Cases and search by the case title, citation, subject, or date. Check out the virtual tour of the U.S. Supreme Court. Produced by Jerry Goldman and Northwestern University.

{Editor's note: For more information on the availability of Supreme Court briefs and oral arguments, see our Briefs and Oral Arguments guide.