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PS 3103 The Supreme Court: Getting Started / Getting Ideas

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Getting Started / Getting Ideas

There are two aspects to literature about the Supreme Court.  One is the rulings of the Supreme Court as events, reported in media at the time and usually in simplified language, which makes for a good entry point.  The second is scholarly analysis of the signifigance of particular Supreme Court rulings, which can be vast and very complicated.

Two good reference sources to start with for an overview, which are both in print in Paley Reference and online, are:

Abc Clio Supreme Court Handbooks

Encyclopedia of the American Constitution

See the tab "Find books" for more Reference books.

The video and audio series The history of the Supreme Court might also give you some ideas about where to focus.

C-SPANN has a companion site to a week devoted to the Supreme Court -- present and past -- with interviews and programs online.

A search in the database Web of Science  on the name of a court gives you a look what prominent scholarly articles have been cited the most.  This does a number of things for you, two of which are that: it shows you what areas of a court's history were of the most interest to scholars and it leads to citations for articles that touch on your topic in some way.  For instance, a search on the "Burger court" brings up 28 citations ordered from latest to oldest.  I can change this to "Times cited" in the drop-down box in the upper right to get the most cited article up at the top.  When I look at a record from this, I can do a number of things with the links on the right hand side, such as see who has cited the article recently  

The newspaper  The New York Times might also be a place to look for angles and ideas.  The coverage of the Supreme Court has usually been pretty good and the writing is intended to be clear, unlike many of the law journal articles you are likely to encounter.  Use publications like the New York Times to gauge the amount of interest the media took on court activities both at the time they happened and later.





Reference Librarian

Rick Lezenby

phone: 215-204-4571

Paley Library (017-00)

Room: 315 (Third Floor - West side near stairs)

1210 W. Berks Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122
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