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U.S. Government : Judicial Branch

a guide to resources for researching the Judicial Branch of the U.S. government.

U.S. Supreme Court

A decision of a U.S. court of appeals may be appealed to yet another appellate court, the Supreme Court of the United States.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is made by filing a petition for certiorari  (a document requesting a review of court records). The Supreme Court has broad discretion in determining whether to review decisions. The Court receives thousands of petitions a year, but can only review about a hundred cases in that span of time. It most often denies certiorari and hears only cases that raise important and unsettled constitutional questions or in which the federal appellate courts have reached conflicting decisions on the same issue. 

U.S. Reports

Find Cases by Citation

A case citation provides you with the necessary information to find a case in either print or electronic resources and generally follows this format:

volume number + source abbreviation + page number

Thus, 410 U.S. 113 appears in

volume 410 of the United States Reports starting on page 113

Often you will find parallel citations to the same case as reported in other official and unofficial court reporters.