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U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

This guide describes how to locate a U.S. Supreme Court case by name, citation and subject.

Legal Citation

Legal citations are very specifically formatted and include many abbreviations, and they can be a challenge to create or understand. Use the following resources for information on how to cite legal sources.

Citing Cases

Legal citations take a different form than journal article citations and are very specifically formatted and include many abbreviations, and they can be a challenge to create or understand.

As an example, the case Roe v. Wade would be cited: Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

The citation is read:

410 = Volume 410 of the

U.S. =  United States Reports

113 = case begins on page 113 

1973 = date of the case decision

 

The official reporter is the United States Reports (US) and the two unofficial, parallel reporters are the

Supreme Court Reporter (S.CT) and 

United States Supreme Court Reports Lawyers' Edition (L. Ed. or L.Ed.2nd).


The same case can also be found in the parallel reporters:

93 S.Ct. 705 = Volume 93 beginning at page 705

35 L.Ed.2d 147, Volume 35 at page 147.