Explore American legal history using documents from 140 years of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 contains the world's most comprehensive online collection of records and briefs brought before the nation's highest court by leading legal practitioners -- many who later became judges and associates of the court. It includes transcripts, applications for review, motions, petitions, supplements, and other official papers of the most-studied and talked-about cases, including many that resulted in landmark decisions. This collection serves the needs of students and researchers in American legal history, politics, society, and government, as well as practicing attorneys.
Featuring background and context for the cases presented to the high court, The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 contains essential primary source material on every aspect of law -- civil rights law, constitutional law, corporate law, environmental law, gender law, labor law, legal history and legal theory, property law, taxation, and trademark and intellectual property law -- as well as the major topics in American history. A lawyer's brief often incorporates considerable historical, economic, and sociological data, which makes it a particularly rich archival source for lawyers, historians, and social scientists. From the generation before the American Civil War to the Vietnam War and Watergate, the collection offers an in-depth record of contemporary analytical writing by well-known social scientists, economists, sociologists, psychologists, social thinkers, scientists, historians, and academics.
This collection is derived from two essential reference sources: Jenkins Memorial Law Library, America's first law library, and the Library of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In addition to the full text of all works within this collection, additional details associated with each work have been captured to facilitate searching and ensure accessibility. Several search indexes have been developed utilizing this metadata, providing users with unequaled access to the content and providing full details within the full citation created for each work.
This collection includes topics centering on:
- The interpretation of the Constitution and its amendments
- Judicial review and the role of the courts in American history
- States' rights and national sovereignty
- Free enterprise, banking, and commerce
- Discrimination and modern civil liberties
- Intellectual property and technology
- Evolving nature of race, gender, faith, and identity
- And much more
In addition, The Making of Modern Law: Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978:
- Brings together a primary source component that scholars traditionally depend upon in order to answer key questions in legal and constitutional history
- Revolutionizes the study of the Supreme Court -- the apex of the American judicial system and a critical focus for students of American politics, government and history -- by offering a fully searchable online resource to all major issues brought before the Supreme Court
- Presents 140 years of court history, allowing researchers to trace the evolution of modern law in the United States
- Supports research in other applications, including American economic history, American social history, rhetoric and the interpretation of language, African American history and critical race theory, feminist studies and jurisprudence, philosophy and ethics, social studies, and more
With full-text search capabilities on the facsimile pages, researchers can conduct precise searches and comparative research in every area of law. Records include:
- Case name
- Variant case name
- Document type
- Document file date
- Supreme Court term year
- Docket number
- Alternate docket number
- U.S. Reports citation
- Supreme Court Reporter citation
- Lawyer's Edition citation
- Opinion date
- Author (counsel) names, including personal and organizational names
- Case heard
The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 includes famous briefs written by leading attorneys (many who later became judges and associates of the Court) such as Louis D. Brandeis, Abe Fortas, Thurgood Marshall, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It also contains briefs written by institutions, corporations, and advocacy groups, including NAACP, the ACLU and The New York Times. It covers cases whose landmark decisions have become an essential part of American law, politics and history, including:
- "Dred Scott v. Sandford" (1857) held that a black slave could not become a citizen under the U.S. Constitution
- "Plessy v. Ferguson" (1896), delivered the famous "separate but equal" decision allowing for racial segregation in public transportation
- "Schenck v. United States" (1919) enunciated the "clear and present danger" rule as a means of testing the validity of government interference with freedom of speech
- "New York Times Co. v. United States" (1971) the famous case of the "Pentagon Papers" during the Vietnam War era
- "United States v. Richard M. Nixon" (1974) ordered President Nixon to obey a subpoena directing him to surrender tape recordings of conversations made in the White House during the Watergate scandal
“This database will be very useful in libraries where locating documents related to American legal history, politics, society, and government is essential. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general audience.”
- J.E. Stephens, U.S. Court of Appeals, Choice
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