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U.S. Laws and Regulations: U.S. Court Opinions and Interpretations

Provides access to U.S. Laws and Regulations

Tips to Discover Court Opinions

When it comes to finding interpretation of the many laws and regulations, one of the key stategies it to search for law reviews.  Law reviews are articles written by lawyers, law professors, law students, etc and provide indepth analysis of laws, court opinions, regulations, etc.  You can also use the law reviews to discover court cases dealing with a particular law or regulation you are interested in.  The databases below will assist you in discovering law reviews.

Court Opinion Sources

Court opinions provide interpretation of the law and/or regulations.  You can find the latest and historic opinions using the following databases and sites.

Reading a Legal Citation

Have you ever been puzzled by weird looking citations such as:

  • 410 U.S. 113
  • 40 CFR §129.4
  • 65 FR 741
  • 16 USC §4246

No need to worry.  These are legal citations and they are quite easy to read once you understand their logic and abbreviations.  The abbreviation in the middle tells you the publication you need.  The first number is the volume of the publication where the citation (law, regulation, opinon, etc) is published, and the second number is the page number where the citation appears.  For instance, 410 U.S. 113 would be read as: "Volume 410 of the United States Reports, page 113."  Sometimes the first number refers to a title/part number instead of a volume number and the second number refers to a section number instead of page number.  The real tricky part is figuring out the abbreviation for the publication.  Below are some of the more common abbreviations you may run into doing research.  As you become more familiar with legal research, you will recognize the more common abbreviations.   A list of the more common U.S. abbreviations can be found in this pdf file.  For other legal citations (state, local and international), see Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations in the Doe Reference Collection.

U.S.-- United States Reports (Supreme Court opinions)
CFR -- Code of Federal Regulations (In this case, its [Title Number] CFR [Part/Section Number])
FR -- Federal Register
F -- Federal Reporter
F2d -- Federal Reporter, Second Series
USC -- U.S. Code (In this case, its [Title Number] USC [Section Number])
Stat -- U.S. Statutes at Large
Cal -- California Reporter