Making Sense of Legal Traditions

Welcome to the CQ Press Supreme Court Collection, a reference collection in the CQ Press Library. This collection is a powerful research and reference tool for analyzing the history and development, cases, powers, and personalities of the U.S. Supreme Court. This wealth of data is presented with nonbiased commentary and vital biographical and opinion data for justices of the Supreme Court. No other collection on the U.S. Supreme Court has the functionality, depth, scope, and unique features of Supreme Court Collection.

Here you will find historical analysis with timely updates and expert commentary of Supreme Court decisions, biographies of Supreme Court justices, Supreme Court institutional history, and the U.S. Constitution.


Content is organized under four main sections, navigable through the tabs at the top of every page:


CQ Press Case Summaries are the preferred data for scholarly research, organized by Court and topic. Each 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. Links to the full text of the decision and recordings are listed when available. CQ Press Key Cases are the cases have been identified by CQ Press authors as the most important in American constitutional and political history.


Justice Profiles offer biographies of every Justice of the Supreme Court since the 1789. Each profile looks at the justice's educational and professional background, describes their nomination process, and briefly lists the issues they have been influential in shaping. Profiles also include links to each justice's CQP Key Cases participation, the opinions they've written, and a breakdown of how they participated in all of the cases during their tenure. Users can also find justices by court term or date, and they can find a breakdown of how justices participated in cases during their tenure.

Analyze Data

These database-driven research tools allow patrons to generate unique data tables about Justices of the Supreme Court from 1941 to the current term. The tools include:

  • Justice Role Finder - select a specific justice and discover the roles they played (Majority, Concurring, Dissenting, etc.) Roles can either be looked at over the justice's whole tenure, or they can be examined by topic.

  • Opinion Writing - understand the opinions of a specific justice. They can browse to find all of a justice's opinions or narrow their search by topic.

  • Opinion Alignment - compare two justices to discover how often their opinions aligned or diverged on specific topics.

  • Voting Bloc Analysis - compare groups of justices to each other, and find how often they voted together or against each other.

The Court Explained

This section contains a wide array of contextual information about the Supreme Court, broken out into nine sections:

  • The Constitution Explained includes analysis and relevant case summaries for each article and amendment of the Constitution.

  • History, Analysis and Traditions provides topical documents related to the historical, institutional and operational development of the Supreme Court.

  • Law and Society offers a broad array of documents organized by topics in public policy.

  • Justices at Work includes documents exploring the role and nature of being a Supreme Court Justice.

  • Court Reports, penned by legal affairs expert and CQ Press author Kenneth Jost, contains detailed analysis of the current court.

  • Term Overviews includes detailed breakdowns of the cases and issues that the Supreme Court addressed by term.

  • The Supreme Court Encyclopedia contains entries from the Supreme Court A to Z, exploring everything from the response of the Court to major issues such as abortion and slavery to legal concepts such as judicial review.

  • Documents of America is a compilation of primary source material from the Supreme Court Collection.

  • The Glossary provides definitions of commonly-used legal terms, taken from CQ Press source materials.


The CQ Press Supreme Court Collection includes the following technical features:

  • Basic and advanced searching as well as sorting of searches by relevancy
  • Advanced navigational and browse features
  • "CiteNow!" for easy citation in 4 styles that can be exported with one click
  • "Your Profile" features that let you mark and save favorite documents and searches
  • E-mail and printer-friendly formatting options
  • Links to government and non-government resources
  • "FAQs" on content and troubleshooting
  • Usage statistics and remote access

If you have any questions about this resource, please visit our Help page.