R

eference Department
of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
Long Island University/C.W. Post Campus



Please inquire in the Reference Department

Guide To Research In Constitutional Law


This guide is intended as an introduction to researching federal case law, focusing primarily on constitutional law. For more in-depth explanations, please ask a Reference Librarian for assistance.

Discussion, Analysis, Interpretation Of Legal Issues


Useful texts include the following:


Cushman, Robert Fairchild. Case in Constitutional Law. 6th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1984. Ref. KF 4549 .C8 1984.

Cushman, Robert Fairchild. Leading Constitutional Decisions. 17th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1987. Ref. KF 4549 .C83 1987.

Friedman, Leon and Israel, Fred L. The Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions. 5 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 1969-1978.
Ref. KF 8744 .F75.

Mendelson, Wallace. The Constitution and the United States. 2nd ed. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1970. Ref. KF 4549 .M35 1965.

Schwartz, Bernard. Civil Rights. New York: Chelsea House, 1970.
Ref. KF 4743.8 1970.

The Supreme Court in American Life. (series). 9 vol. Millwood, NY: Associated Faculty Press, 1986. Ref. KF 8742 .S9155 1986.

Vol. 1: The Federal Court, 1787-1801;
Vol. 2: The Federal Court, 1801-1835;
Vol. 3: The Taney Court, 1836-1864;
Vol. 4: The Reconstruction Court, 1864-1888;
Vol. 5: The Fuller Court, 1888-1910;
Vol. 6: The Conservative Court, 1910-1930;
Vol. 7: The Court and the American Crises, 1930-1952;
Vol. 8: The Warren Court, 1953-1968;
Vol. 9: The Burger Court, 1968-1984.


Encyclopedias & Dictionaries


Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
Ref. KF 4548 .E53 1986.

Contains signed articles on various constitutional issues, landmark cases, and important people in the history and development of the Constitution. Many articles also contain short bibliographies and there are several appendices on events in the formation of the Constitution.


The Guide to American Law: Everyone's Legal Encyclopedia. 11 vols., with supplemental volumes. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1983.
Ref. KF 156 .G77 1983.

Contains articles of various lengths, some signed, on all aspects of the law. Includes explanations of statutory and case law, and tables of cases, popular name acts, and key legal documents (e.g., Bill of Rights, Articles of Confederation, Truman Doctrine, etc).


Hurwitz, Leon. Historical Dictionary of Censorship in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. Ref. KF 4770 .A59 H87 1985.

Provides overview of censorship issues and the areas that have been subjected to censorship (i.e., freedom of speech, press, etc.). Appendices include a table of cases, a chronology, and a selected bibliography.


Reviews, Guides, Bibliographies


Chandler, Ralph C., et al. The Constitutional Law Dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Cilo, 1985- . (Vol. 1 - Individual Rights; Vol. 2 - Governmental Powers).
Ref. KF 4548.5 .C47 1985.

Although billed as a dictionary, this guide may be used for an overview of constitutional concepts or a review of leading constitutional decisions. Contains "Legal words and phrases" section and other useful appendices, e.g., of justice of the Supreme Court and a term-by-term composition of the court.


Congressional Quarterly, Inc. Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Washington DC: CQ, 1979. Ref. JK 1571 .C65 1979.

An overview of the Supreme Court, its history, operations, and traditions, as well as biographical information on the justices. There is a section on the "court and the individual" in which are examined the court's various rulings on rights and freedoms of the individual. Also includes summaries of important decisions of the court from 1790 to summer of 1979.


Decision of the United States Supreme Court. Rochester, NY: Lawyer's Co-operative Publishing Company, 1964 - . Ref. KF 101.1 .L38.

This publication serves as a convenient guide to each term of the Supreme Court. It contains a listing of court personnel, a survey of the term, summaries of decisions, and a case table. Subject indexing is by factual or conceptual terms.


McCarrick, Earlean M. U.S. Constitution: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1980. Ref. KF 4546 .A1 M26.

An annotated bibliography containing references to primary and secondary source material. The chapters are chronologically categorized, the first section dealing with the formative years, while the latter chapters deal with the structure and content of the Constitution itself, concluding with amendments added (or proposed) in the 20th century.


A Reference Guide to the United States Supreme Court. New York: Facts on File, 1986. Ref. KF 8742 .R45 1986.

This guide provides an overview of important constitutional issues addressed by the court as well as summaries of landmark cases. Also included are short biographies of the justices and several useful appendices containing chronological listings of the landmark cases, and the justices and the courts on which they served.


The Supreme Court and Its Work. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1981.
Ref. KF 8742 .S9.

An introductory guide to the Supreme Court, somewhat briefer and more general than the previously cited "Guides". There are sections on major issues confronting the court, biographical sketches of the justices and key decisions from 1790 up to and including the 1980-81 term. Contains various appendedices, one of which lists all Supreme Court nominations, 1789-1981.


The Supreme Court Review. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960- .
Ref. KF 4546 .S9.

Annual publication containing articles on important Supreme Court cases and constitutional issues of note, past and present.


Case Law Research


COURT REPORTS - SUPREME COURT

United States Reports. Washington, DC: GPO, 1798- . GOV.DOC. JU 6.8.

This is the official government record of U.S. Supreme Court decisions and opinions. They are issued first as "slip decisions" (or "slip opinions"), individual sheets which are subsequently cumulated and published in pamphlet form as "Preliminary prints", and finally in bound volumes months later. Citations to Supreme Court cases include the volume and page number of the official edition (U.S. Reports) as well as parallel citations to the unofficial editions. These unofficial reporters are as follows:


United States Supreme Court Reports. Lawyers' Edition. Rochester, NY: Lawyer's Co-operative Publishing Company, 1790- . Ref. KF 101 .A313 1882x. (Holdings in this library are: 1790-1881, 105v. in 26).

Supreme Court Reporter. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1882- .
Ref. KF 101 .A322. (Holdings are: V. 1 (1882) to date).

NOTE: If only the U.S. Reports citation is known, a cross reference table in the front of each Supreme Court Reporter volume should be checked to obtain the parallel citation.


COURT REPORTS - FEDERAL APPELLATE & DISTRICT COURTS


Federal Reporter, second series. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1925-
Ref. KF 105 .F453. (Holdings are: v. 1 (1924) to date).

Covers decisions of the eleven U.S. circuit courts of appeal.


Federal Supplement. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1933- . Ref. KF 105 .F4535. (Holdings are v.1 (1932) to date). Reports decisions of the U.S. District Courts as well as some specialized courts.


Case Digests


Court decisions are published chronologically, and it may sometimes be necessary to use a subject approach to locate either the exact citation to a case, or cases on related points of law. For this problem, a case digest should be used. The following digests provide this topical approach to finding Supreme Court cases, as well as cases from other federal courts, (i.e., circuit courts, district courts, and courts covering special jurisdiction).


Federal Digest. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing company, 1754-1938.
Ref. KF 127 .F5x.

Covers cases reported prior to 1939, and is continued by:


Modern Federal Practice Digest. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Ref. KF 127 .M6.

Continues Federal Digest for cases reported from 1939-1961. For cases reported since 1961, consult the following:


West's Federal Pratice Digest, 2nd ed. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Ref. KF 127 .W48.

Covers cases reported from 1961 to November 1975. For cases from 1975 to date, see the following:


West's Federal Practice Digest, 3rd ed. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Ref. KF 127 .W48 1984.

This edition contains updated and expanded topic headings and subheadings.


Some of the broad topic headings useful for locating cases through these digest are as follows:


Abortion and Birth Control        Criminal Law
Arrest                            Habeas Corpus
Bail                              Obscenity
Civil Rights                      Schools
Constitutional Law                Searches and Seizures

For more detailed topic analyses, consult the outlines at the beginning of each subject area.

NOTE: If only the case name is known, refer to the Table of Cases volumes of a digest set. These tables are arranged alphabetically by the name of the plaintiff.


Secondary Sources Of Case Law

United States Law Week: Supreme Court. Washington, DC: Bureau of National Affairs. Ref. KF 105 .B75x.

Of the publications available in this library, U.S. Law Week contains the most current information on Supreme Court cases. Updated weekly. Access is by subject, case name or docket number.

United States Law Week: General Law. Washington, DC: Bureau of National Affairs.
Ref. KF 105 .B75x.

Reports, in summary form, decisions and opinions of the federal appellate and district courts as well as some state court decisions. Updates weekly.


Criminal Law Reporter. Washington, DC: Bureau of National Affairs.
Ref. KF 9615 .C7.

This looseleaf reporter covers developments in criminal law on state and federal levels. Access is by subject or case name. Updates weekly. Some useful topic headings to consult include the following:

ARREST
CIVIL LIABILITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS
DOUBLE JEOPARDY
FREEDOM OF SPEECH, PRESS, ASSEMBLY
OBSCENITY
SEARCH AND SEIZURE


The card catalogs and PAC terminals should be used for locating books on constitutional law, or other legal topics. Some of the subject headings useful in locating these books are as follows:


CIVIL RIGHTS
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS      FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY         JUDICAL REVIEW
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW             OBSCENITY (LAW)
DOUBLE JEOPARDY                PRIVACY, RIGHT OF
DUE PROCESS OF LAW             RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW        SEARCHES AND SEIZURES
FREE PRESS AND FAIR TRIAL      U.S. - CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY
FREEDOM OF SPEECH              U.S. - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW


The vertical file, located in the Reference Department, contains pamphlet material filed under the following subject headings:

CIVIL RIGHTS
EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW
LIBERTY OF THE PRESS
PRIVACY, RIGHT OF
U.S. CONSTITUTION


For articles in law reviews and journals, consult the following indexes located in the Periodicals Department:


Index to Legal Periodicals. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1883- .
(Library has v. 1-6 (1886-1937); v. 10 to date (1952- .)

Index to Periodical Articles Related to Law. (Selected from journals not included in the Index to Legal Periodicals.) Dobbs Ferry, NY: Glanville, 1958 - . (Library has 1958 to date.)


COMPUTER-ASSISTED RESEARCH

It is possible to obtain bibliographical information from online database available through the Library Information Retrieval Service located in Room 239. Legal Resource Index provides access to legal journals and newspapers, as well as selectively indexing monographs and goverment publications. Other databases containing information on law and the legal system are the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Information Service (CIS). For more information, inquire at the Reference Desk, or call 299-2305, 2306.



Compiled by Wendy Roberts
Spring 1988

Click here to return to Reference home pageReturn to Reference Home Page Click here to return to Library home pageReturn to Library Home Page


Laura Manzari and Kelly Lusak - Contact Reference