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Georgetown Law Library

Briefs, Oral Arguments and Other Court Documents Research Guide

This guide collects sources for briefs, oral argument transcripts, dockets, and other documents from state and federal appellate and supreme courts.

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Oral Arguments

"An advocate's spoken presentation before a court (esp. an appellate court) supporting or opposing the legal relief at issues." (Black Law Dictionary, 7th Edition, p. 1122)

U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments

WestlawNext  has a database found by clicking Trial Transcripts & Oral Arguments > U.S. Supreme Court, with the transcript of oral arguments beginning in 1990; Lexis has coverage beginning with the 1979 term (Legal > Federal Legal - U.S. > Supreme Court Cases & Materials > United States Supreme Court Transcripts). Transcripts are available approximately 15 days after the oral argument.

Internet

The Supreme Court provides transcripts of oral arguments beginning with the 2000 term; arguments are available within 10-15 days after the transcripts are completed. The transcripts will be permanently archived on the Court's web site.

Microfiche

The library has a microfiche set with transcripts of all oral arguments before the Court since 1969 and selected arguments from 1953-1968. The Complete Oral Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States KF 101.9 U542 Prior to 1969, oral arguments were not regularly transcribed. The transcripts are received once a year, usually about 6-8 months after the end of the term.

Print

  • Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States KF101.9 .L3contains transcripts of oral arguments for cases therein when available (1793-present).
     
  • United States Law Week (also available in print, KF105 .U6) publishes summaries of selected oral arguments.
     
  • Antitrust Law: Major Briefs and Oral Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1955 term-1975 term / edited by Phillip B. Kurland, Gerhard Casper KF1641 .A57 1979
     
  • Argument: Argument: The Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1952-1955 / Leon Friedman, editor; introductions [by] Kenneth Clark and Yale Kamisar KF4155 .B7 1969

Print

  • OYEZ U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia has digitized recordings of the Court's proceedings. There are over 600 oral arguments from leading cases in constitutional law currently available with more added each year. The recordings of oral arguments at the National Archives provide the source material for this site. Available arguments begin in 1961 with Mapp v. Ohio and McGowan v. Maryland; there are a few arguments from the 1950s. Current arguments are not available until approximately 10 months after the end of a term. To access the arguments, you need Real Audio, which can be downloaded from the Oyez site.
     
  • Audiotapes of oral argument in 23 well-known Supreme Court cases were released in 1993 and are available in the library. The tapes are titled May it Please the Court: The Most Significant Oral Arguments Made Before the Supreme Court Since 1955 KF4748 M39 1993. Among the cases included are:Gideon v. WainwrightMiranda v. ArizonaRoe v. Wade; and the Nixon Watergate tapes.
     
  • Audiotapes of oral arguments in Supreme Court cases since the mid-1950s are available at the Archives II building in College Park, Maryland. For information on hours and access to the tapes, call the Sound Recording Division at (301) 713-6790.

Video

  • The 2003 University of Michigan affirmative action cases were published by C-SPAN in 1 videocassette (featuring still picture images of the participants with audio only original broadcast on April 1, 2003 on C-SPAN Radio). The tape is titled Supreme Court Oral Arguments: [of University of Michigan affirmative action cases] KF4755.5 S86 2003 Video.
     
  • C-SPAN's America and the Courts also has some oral arguments (featuring still picture images of the participants with audio) including Rasul v. Bush, Al Odah v. U.S., Cheney v. U.S. District Court, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld v. Padilla.
     
  • The C-SPAN's Video Library includes judicial proceedings with oral arguments. Use the Advanced Search capabilities and search for "oral arguments".

Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments