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Political Science

Resources for Political Science and Politics

U.S. Judicial Resources

  • Administrative Office of the United States Courts
    Provides key information about federal courts including statistics, educational materials, and court records.
  • Federal Judicial Center
    The Federal Judicial Center is the research and education agency of the federal judicial system.
  • United States Sentencing Commission
    The United States Sentencing Commission was established as an independent agency in the judicial branch of the Federal Government by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (28 U.S.C. 991 et seq. and 18 U.S.C. 3551 et seq.). The Commission establishes sentencing guidelines and policies for the Federal courts, advising them of the appropriate form and severity of punishment for offenders convicted of Federal crimes.
  • United States Courts Opinions (USCOURTS)
    Provides access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, starting in April 2004.
  • Guide to Law Online
    Congress established its Law Library in 1832, recognizing its need for ready access to reliable legal materials. The Law Library has grown over the years to become the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes spanning the ages and covering virtually every jurisdiction in the world.
  • Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)
    $Fee Based$
    Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts, and the PACER Case Locator via the Internet. PACER is provided by the federal Judiciary in keeping with its commitment to providing public access to court information via a centralized service.
  • The Difference Between Federal and State Courts
    The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land in the United States. It creates a federal system of government in which power is shared between the federal government and the state governments. Due to federalism, both the federal government and each of the state governments has its own court system.
    Members: The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at eight (28 U. S. C. §1). Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate. Article III, §1, of the Constitution further provides that "[t]he Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."
    Constitutional Origin. Article III, §1, of the Constitution provides that "[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." The Supreme Court of the United States was created in accordance with this provision and by authority of the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789 (1 Stat. 73). It was organized on February 2, 1790.
    Jurisdiction. According to the Constitution (Art. III, §2): "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;-to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;-to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;-to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;-to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;-between Citizens of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Legal Databases and Resources

Hein Online: The Modern Link to Legal History (1754+)
HeinOnline has four major library collections: the Law Journal Library, the Federal Register Library, the Treaties and Agreements Library, and the U.S. Supreme Court Library.   Here is an  ASU Law Library Tutorial on Using HeinOnline.


Legal Periodicals Retrospective (1908-1981) retrospective database indexes over 750 legal periodicals published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Annual surveys of the laws of a jurisdiction, annual surveys of the federal courts, yearbooks, annual institutes, and annual reviews of the work in a given field or on a given topic are also covered.


Nexis Uni Full text of selected newspapers, trade publications, legal periodicals, and scholarly journals. Includes company directories/financials; Hoover reports; quotes; almanac; federal/state laws, regulations, court opinions; accounting statements/guidelines; & news transcripts.  Here are  ASU Law Library Tutorials on Finding Legal Articles Using Nexis Uni and    Finding Cases Using Nexis Uni

Library of Congress Law Library - Guide to Law Online:   The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information   Select a Link: International and Multinational; Nations of the World; U.S. Federal - includes U.S. Code and Constitution links; and U.S. States and Territories

Library of Congress - Legal Reports  The Law Library of Congress produces reports primarily for members of Congress.  The legal research reports are listed   by topic and provide commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. These reports are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. 

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.