FAQ About the New Supreme Court Collection

What has changed?
Is training available on using the new interface?
Other questions or comments about the new design?

General Site Use

Searching
Browsing
Downloading
CiteNow Button
Email Button
Save to Favorites / "Star" Button
Using Your Profile
Browser Compatibility
Contact Us

About the Content

Cases
Justice Profiles
Justice Role Finder
Opinion Finder
Opinion Alignment
Voting Bloc Analysis
The Constitution Explained
History, Analysis and Traditions
Law & Society
Justices at Work
Court Reports
Term Overviews
Supreme Court Encyclopedia
Documents of America
Glossary of Common Legal Terms

FAQ About the New Supreme Court Collection


What has changed?

The new look is designed to make Supreme Court Collection easier to use, and updated content offers a new perspective on the Supreme Court today. New features include:

  • New design and structure to help guide you to key research tasks you can complete on the site.
  • New organization and re-building of functions that were previously confusing.
  • Updated encyclopedia content that explores the most pressing issues in the Supreme Court today.


Is training available on using the new interface?

Yes! A tutorial video is available below, or if you would like to attend a webinar on the new site, please contact us.


Other questions or comments about the new design?

We want to hear from you! Please contact us.


General Site Use


Searching

To search for a complete phrase, place it in quotes when entering you search terms into the search bar.
Use the following qualifiers to help limit your search:

Search results will be sorted by relevance, or you can select to sort them by newest or oldest results. Use the source type filters to only view search results that are a specific type of source.

Browsing

There are several options for browsing content in Supreme Court Collection, all of which can be found nested within the four tabs atop Supreme Collection: Cases, Justices, Analyze Data, and The Court Explained.

For more about the content within these tabs, please visit About the Content.


Downloading

You can download a PDF of every document by clicking "Download PDF" at the top of the page.

CiteNow Button

You can find the source of a page by clicking on CiteNow at the top of the page or scrolling to the bottom of the page for the on-page citation.

Email Button

You can easily share documents by clicking "Email this Document" atop each page. Enter the required fields and press "Send Email."

Save to Favorites / "Star" Button

Save content to favorites by clicking on the star icon on the page you want to save, or next to the search result you are interested in. Access your favorite content by logging into your profile.

Using Your Profile

Creating a Profile

Create a profile to save your content in order to access it later. Just create a username and password by clicking "Your Profile" in the top right of Supreme Court Collection, and that’s it.

Favorite Documents

This lists all the documents you have previously favorited.

Document History

View your document history to see all of the content you have viewed. Access your document history by logging into your profile.

Saved Searches

Save search results you want to access later by clicking on the Save Searches button on the search result page. Access your saved searches by logging into your profile.


Browser Compatibility

Supreme Court Collection functions best using Internet Explorer 9 or higher, and the latest versions of Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, which typically update automatically.

Contact Us

For all questions not answered on this page please feel free to email us or call: 1-800-818-7243.



About the Content


Cases

At the top of every Case Summary page is the Case Box Score. The top line of the box score indicates case name. The second line lists the volume of U.S. Reports that officially contains the case. If you click on the volume, you'll be directly linked to the full Supreme Court Decision on FindLaw.

The Case Box Score also contains the decision date and a breakdown of how the justices participated in the case, with links to their profiles. The author of the majority opinion is listed, followed by the authors of the dissenting and concurring opinions. Justices listed in parentheses are those that joined in those specific opinions. The Case Box Score also links to the Transcript Audio when available.

Below the Box Score, the case summary explains the political, social and constitutional context of the case, the holding of the case, and, where appropriate, the historical impact of the case.

Each case also contains a Learn More box that links out to related cases and encyclopedia entries.


What is a CQ Press Key Case?

Every term, CQ Press authors and editorial staff identify the cases that had the most impact on legislation and society. These cases are identified as CQ Press Key Cases and indicated with this icon:


Justice Profiles

The landing pages for Justice Profiles contain a narrative biography written by CQ editorial staff, a biographical summary table and a box score. The biographical table includes the member's

  • Birth: when and where
  • Education: when and where
  • Official Positions: political and judicial
  • Supreme Court Service: presidential appointer, key dates, Senate confirmation, justice replacing, replaced by which justice
  • Family

The biographical table also contains links to the Key Cases that Justice participated in and a breakdown of all the opinions they wrote.

The box score links out to all of the cases that justice has participated in, grouped by role.

Justice Role Finder

You can find cases that a justice participated in and the roles the justice took in those cases. An individual justice's "role" in a case can be any of the following:

  • Voted With Majority - voted with the majority or plurality
  • Dissented - voted against the majority of plurality
  • Concurred - agreed with the Court's opinion as well as its disposition
  • Concurring in Judgment - agreed with the Court's disposition but not its opinion
  • Judgment of the Court - agreed with the judgement of the Court
  • Dissent from Denial of Certiorari - disagreed with a denial or dismissal of certiorari or with summary affirmation of an appeal
  • Jurisdictional Dissent - disagreed with the Court's assertion of jurisdiction without addressing merits or hearing oral argument
  • Seratim Opinion - each judge reads his or her own opinion rather than a single judge writing on behalf of the court
  • Did Not Participate

Opinion Finder

Find the cases in which a justice wrote an opinion, or wrote an opinion in a certain constitutional area, topic designation, or both.

Opinion Alignment

Opinion Alignment goes a step further than the Opinion Finder and allows you to evaluate how often and in what cases two justices sitting on the Court at the same time are allied in specific types of opinions. For example, you can learn how often and in what cases

  • Justice Lewis Powell wrote a dissent that Justice Harry Blackmun joined.
  • Justice Sandra Day O'Connor joined a concurring opinion that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg authored.
  • Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote a dissenting opinion in a free speech case that Justice Felix Frankfurter joined.

The search yields two sets of results, each set giving the number of times one justice joined the other’s written opinion. The numbers are links to a list of the cases, which you can then access and organize.

Voting Bloc Analysis

The Supreme Court decides cases by a majority or plurality of justices. The modern Court is made up of nine justices, so the vote outcomes are commonly 9-0, 8-1, 7-2, 6-3, and 5-4. On occasion a justice does not or cannot participate in the case so the total will be less than nine. The Voting Bloc Analysis tool allows the user to find the number of cases and list of cases in which:

  • Two or more justices vote together or against other justices. For example, you can find how often Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justice William Brennan voted together or against each other in a case. This does not imply that either of them wrote the opinion for the majority or minority (although they may have).
  • Two or more justices vote together or against other justices in certain constitutional areas, topic designations, or both. For example, you can find how often Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justice William Brennan voted together or against each other in a case designated as a 1st Amendment: Speech, Press, and Assembly case.

Indicate whether you want to see blocs voting together or against each other. Once you select the first justice from the drop-down menu, your options for further selections will be limited to justices who served with the first member you selected.

The search results provide the number of times the bloc of justices you selected were together in the majority and the number of times they were together in the minority, or the number of times the selected bloc of justices voted against each other. The numbers provided in the search results are links to a list of the cases, which you can then access and organize.

The Constitution Explained

The Constitution Explained is a broad array of topics organized to follow the structure of the U.S. Constitution. For example, you can find a variety of documents on such topics as:

  • Article I
  • Delegation of powers
  • Speech or Debate Clause
  • Necessary and Proper Clause
  • Implied powers of Congress
  • First Amendment
  • Speech, press, and assembly
  • Free exercise of religion
  • Establishment of religion

History, Analysis, and Tradition

History, Analysis, and Traditions provides topical documents related to the historical, institutional and operational development of the Supreme Court. For example, you can find a variety of documents on such topics as:

  • Arguments and Briefs
  • Conferences
  • Congress and the Court
  • Cost of the Court

Justices at Work

Justices at Work includes documents exploring the role and nature of being a Supreme Court Justice. For example, you can find information on such topics as:

  • Chief Justices
  • Controversial Justices
  • Perquisites and Responsibilities of Court Service
  • Selection, Nomination, and Confirmation

Court Reports

Authored by legal expert Kenneth Jost, Court Reports are added to the site on a semi-regular basis and provide detailed analysis of current Supreme Court issues.

Term Overviews

Thorough explanations and analysis of every court term since 1990.

Supreme Court Encyclopedia

The CQ Press Supreme Court Collection Encyclopedia provides articles offering general summaries of Supreme Court issues. All articles in the Encyclopedia are taken from CQ Press sources.

Documents of America

Documents of America is a compilation of primary source material from the Supreme Court Collection. Examples include the full-text of the U.S. Constitution, excerpts from Supreme Court opinions, and Federalist Papers.

Glossary of Common Legal Terms

The Glossary provides definitions of commonly-used legal terms, taken from CQ Press source materials. Browse the glossary by scrolling down the page, or type Ctrl+F to search for a term.