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University at Buffalo Libraries

Courts & Court Cases

The Government Documents collection in Lockwood Library maintains very limited information about the courts and their cases. For more information and resources pertaining to courts and court cases at all levels, visit the Law Library.

Introduction to the Courts

CNN Justice (Cable News Network)
Provides popular information about newsworthy trials. Results include good non-technical summaries.

Federal Judiciary (Center for Regulatory Effectiveness)
Links connect to a variety of federal courts. These include the Supreme Court; Circuit Courts; District Courts; Bankruptcy Courts; Federal Claims Courts; Tax Courts; International Trade Courts; Territorial Courts; and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Federal Judicial Center (FJC)
FJC provides education and research for the federal judiciary. It promotes continuing education of federal judges and other court employees; makes recommendations to the U.S. Judicial Conference; and researches judicial practices and procedures.

Federal Judiciary Home Page
Separate sections outline recent developments and reproduce press releases; frequently asked questions; a description of the court system; links to federal courts, publications and directories; employment opportunities; and a search engine.

Historic U.S. Court Cases: An Encyclopedia. John W. Johnson, editor. New York: Routledge, 2001. 2 volumes.
Lockwood Reference KF385.A4 J64 2001 
Essays summarize cases and concepts from all jurisdictions. Topics deal with crime; government organization and power; the economy and regulation; race, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities; and civil liberties.

Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)
A basic introduction appropriate for lay people.

Understanding the Federal Courts (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)
Provides an overview of the Constitution ; the courts in American government; the structure and jurisdiction of federal courts; and judicial process. Additional information includes frequent questions; legal terms; and a directory of the court system.

U.S. Supreme Court: Background

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Elder Witt. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1990.
Lockwood Reference KF8742 .W567 1990
Covers the origins and development of the court; the court in the federal system; constitutional rights; how the court works; and case summaries. Non-specialists are the intended audience.

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Supreme Court. Thomas T. Lewis and Richard L. Wilson, editors. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2001. 3 volumes.
Lockwood Reference KF8742 .A35 E53 2001
Over 1000 essays summarize key cases; types of law, such as bankruptcy; how the court works; and biographical data. Lay people are the intended audience.

Highlights of the Supreme Court's _____ Term (Cornell University. Legal Information Institute)

Landmark Supreme Court Cases: A Reference Guide. Donald E. Lively. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Lockwood Reference KF4549 .L58 1999
Summarizes important cases for lay people. Topics cover separation of power; regulations and the economy; equal rights; and individual rights.

Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. Kermit L. Hall, editor in chief. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Lockwood Reference KF8742 .A35 O93 2005
Describes cases, concepts, and personalities, and includes extensive cross references.

OYEZ (The Oyez Project supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities)
Reproduces in audio format over 2000 hours of oral arguments before the Supreme Court covering 1995 to date, and selectively since 1955. The Oyez Project makes the records available approximately 1 year following the end of a Court session. Court officials repeat the term OYEZ, pronounced "o-yay," three times at the beginning of a court session. Its origin is from Middle English and means "to hear."

Supreme Court of the United States Home Page
The Court's home page includes information for the general public and legal professionals. Data for lay people outline procedures; history; biographies of justices; visits to the court; speeches; press releases; and links to related sites. Information pertinent to legal professionals include the Court's calendar and schedule; court rules; bar admissions; and case handling guides. The site reproduces opinions and orders beginning with the 1999 term.

United States Supreme Court Links (Rominger Legal)
Links connect to a wide variety of data about the Supreme Court. These include current and historical cases; audio clips of cases; Constitutional law; and data about the Justices.

U.S. Supreme Court Cases


  • Selected Historic Decisions of the US Supreme Court (Cornell University Legal Information Institute)
    Covers the Court's 610 most historic cases. This collection is an excellent source for non-law students who want only the most significant cases.





Selected Historic Decisions of the US Supreme Court (Cornell University Law School. Legal Information Institute)
Reproduces 631 historic cases that pre-date decisions available on the Web.  Locate cases by topics, names of parties, and names of justices.

New York State Courts and Cases

Click here to view additional information about New York State.

New York State Court of Appeals Decisions
Cornell University's Legal Information Institute reproduces cases decided by the Court of Appeals. (1990+) Locate data by topics, keywords, and names.

New York State Unified Court System
Provides an overview of the New York State court system. Separate sections cover:

  • Administration and employment
  • Bar Associations
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
  • Links to courts, law libraries, and other related resources
  • Forms
  • Guides to legal research
  • Court records
  • Press releases
  • Publications
  • Rules

Other Cases

Three reference sources in Lockwood Library summarize historic cases from all jurisdictions for non-specialists, and provide bibliographies for additional information.  Each case promoted public debate and/or affected subsequent history. 

  • Crimes and Trials of the Century. Steven Chermak and Frankie Y. Bailey, editors.  Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 2007. 2 volumes.
    Lockwood Reference: KF221 .P6 C75 2007.
  • Great American Trials. Edward W. Knappman, editor. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1994.
    Lockwood Reference: KF220 .G74 1994.
  • Historic U.S. Court Cases: An Encyclopedia. John W. Johnson, editor, 2nd edition. New York: Routledge, 2001. 2 volumes.
    Lockwood Reference: KF385.A4 J64 2001