Decisions prior to 1990 are available from a variety
of on-Net sources, in a variety of formats. The LII
collection of historic decisions of the US Supreme Court contains over
300 of the court's most important decisions through the whole period of
existence, and can be purchased on CD-ROM. FedWorld provides pointers to various uses of the FLITE database, including one at Villanova; FLITE only covers the period from 1937 to 1975, but does so comprehensively. The Findlaw collection also reaching back to 1937 is comprehensive without the post-1975 gap. The USSC+ service from Infosynthesis provides full coverage from 1966 onward, and some 450 older cases dating back to 1793. Finally, the fee-based WestDoc service provides full coverage of all the court's decisions. There are other sources for the opinions; this is not a comprehensive list.
Another interesting collection is Northwestern's collection of oral arguments, delivered via streaming audio.
decisions distributed through Project Hermes
The Court began distributing decisions electronically under the auspices of Project Hermes in 1990. Until January of 1997, the LII did not archive decisions at Cornell but instead built finding aids on top of the existing Internet collection at Case Western Reserve University. In January of 1997 we began receiving our own Hermes distribution, and also converted the entire CWRU "backlist" into richly crosslinked HTML for mounting at our site. The collection is updated as new decisions are received from the Court; some maintenance (notably the addition of US Reports citation information and the construction of caselists by party name) takes place on an annual basis each summer. Note that there are gaps in the CWRU backlist which we are currently working to fill, and should have done by the end of August 1997. Further detail about the collection itself and some of its technical workings are available. We have also constructed a rich assortment of caselists and finding aids which you may find useful.
about the court itself
We publish the court's calendar, schedule of oral arguments, and a biography and decision list for each of the justices. We also have mounted the text of the court rules, information about the court's authority and jurisdiction, and a continually-expanding glossary of terms encountered in decisions.
Collection of Historic Decisions
The LII Collection of Historic Decisions of the US Supreme Court is available both on the Net and as a CD-ROM which you may order from us. It currently consists of over 300 of the Court's most important decisions from the founding of the court to the present. That number will be increased to 500 in the Collection's second version, to be released in August of 1997. We provide a variety of finding aids with this collection, including lists of cases by opinion author, party name, and topic.
The URLs which point to particular decisions are derived from the docket number assigned by the Court and further elaborated into a somewhat arcane system which names syllabi, opinions, concurrences, and dissents separately. If the opinion is new enough that it lacks a cite to the US Reports, you'll need to discover the URL by other means; the easiest is probably just to look at one of our finding aids for recent decisions (it can take up to eighteen months for a US Reports cite to be assigned).
If you have a cite to the US Reports:
We provide a "choice of viewing" engine which returns Supreme Court cases from a variety of Internet sources given a US Reports cite. To use it to get pointers to various versions of Michigan v. Long (463 U.S. 1032), you'd say:
<A HREF=" http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-us-cite?463+1032">Michigan v. Long</A>
Note that the URL is just the root
followed by the volume and page numbers separated by a plus sign, eg.:
This syntax will work with any decision which has a US Reports cite; the list of locations having the decision will vary depending on its age.
The Police Officer's Internet Directory
Some educational examples