ENGL 4595: Literature and Law

Literature in Supreme Court Opinions

Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Company,
497 U.S. 1, 12, 110 S.Ct. 2695 (1990).

United States v. National Treasury Employees Union,
513 U.S. 454, 464-65, 115 S.Ct. 1003 (1995).


Where to Find Cases

HeinOnline [off-campus]
A legal research collection that features full-text searching of case law, laws and regulations, treaties and agreements, scholarly legal and criminal justice periodicals, and related materials. Coverage includes the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and other foreign and international resources.

Nexis Uni [off-campus]
A legal database that provides access to federal and state statutes, cases (including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790), regulations, and law reviews and journal articles.

The U.S. Supreme Court's public website, which contains all decisions from 1988 to present. The website also provides a Case Citation Finder, which allows users to retrieve the proper citation for every signed, per curiam, or in-chambers opinion published in the United States Reports.

How to Find Cases

Let's walk through two scenarios: (1) finding a specific case, and (2) searching for cases on a topic.

(1) Finding the U.S. Supreme Court case establishing Miranda rights
Where do you start? You might try to find the citation, or you might try to craft a narrow search

A. Finding the case citation. (For more on citations, see the Legal Citation tab.)

  • You could Google it. Citations for landmark decisions should be available on Google.
  • OR... You could use the U.S. Supreme Court's Case Citation Finder.
  • THEN... You could find the case by entering the citation into HeinOnline or NexisUni.

B. Crafting a narrow search.

  • On HeinOnline, you could narrow to Case Law ⇒ U.S. Supreme Court and search "Miranda."
  • OR... On NexisUni, you could narrow to Cases ⇒ Federal Cases and search "Miranda."

(2) Finding Ohio cases about when a police officer may search a car without a warrant.
Where do you start? You might start with a guided search and then refine your search later.

  • On NexisUni, you could narrow to Cases ⇒ State Cases and type in "Ohio."
  • Then, you could search for keywords, like: ("car" OR "vehicle") AND "without a warrant."
  • After you skim a case or two by using Ctrl +F to search for keywords...
  • THEN... You could narrow the results by using new keywords you've learned.
  • For example, you could Search Within Results: "Fourteenth Amendment."

As you learn more about the topic, you can continue to alter your search until you find what you need.