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Research & Litigation

Your Place for Supreme Court Records & Briefs – Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 7:00am

Today’s Pic of the Week features our collection of Supreme Court Records and Briefs.

Just one of the 53 ranges of bound volumes of Supreme Court Records and Briefs – photo by Betty Lupinacci

As I was showing off our closed stacks collection to the Law Library’s two newest reference librarians, Latia Ward and Janeen Williams, it struck me that this vast collection might make for an interesting blog post.

Debbie Keysor, now Chief of the Public Services Division, wrote a post in 2012 on the how and when of binding Supreme Court Records and Briefs.

This post focuses on the results of all her (and prior and subsequent government documents librarians) hard work.

At present there are 563 volumes of the official reporter of U.S. Supreme Court opinions.  Approximately 80 cases are granted plenary review out of thousands more that the Court disposes of each term.

And with each of these cases comes briefs:  these days, lots and lots of briefs.

So for the 530-some volumes of the United States Reports for which the Law Library has been binding briefs, we have 26,521 volumes of these Supreme Court documents.

Briefs for 539 US 306 (2003) Picture by Betty Lupinacci

For example, the photo above depicts the briefs for a single case published in volume 539 of the United States Reports for the 2002 term.  Six of these volumes contain only amicus curiae briefs.

The Supreme Court itself has the most complete collection of these materials.  But, as access to their library is limited, we hope to see you soon.



Categories: Research & Litigation

Bookends — Pic of the Week

In Custodia Legis - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:25pm


I work in a building on an opposite corner from the United States Capitol Building. The Capitol Building is truly a beautiful and monumental structure; a place where many of the civic events of our national government, such as the recent inauguration are held. It so happens that I have two pieces of the Capitol in my office. This does not mean that I’m a vandal! Let me explain.

Many modifications to the building have been made since 1800. The building was rebuilt after it was burned by the British in 1814, as a part of the Chesapeake campaign  during the War of 1812. During the middle of the nineteenth century new wings were built for the Senate and House, and the wings were joined by a rotunda. As the Civil War was beginning an expansion was once again under way with plans for a larger rotunda, and a new dome which was to be capped with a Statue of Freedom.  Reconstruction of an older and working building of this nature is an ongoing process; in 2016 the restoration of the Capitol dome, which was needed due to the stress on the interior cast iron, was completed.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the Capitol’s East front was restored and expanded.  The East front is where most Inaugurations were held until 1980.  During this process some of the original building materials, such as the original Corinthian columns and some of the Aquila Creek sandstone were replaced. The Corinthian columns were eventually relocated to the National Arboretum. The sandstone was later made available for sale to the public on a limited basis. In 1977, when I was in Washington, I purchased a pair of bookends made from the sandstone for my father’s Christmas present. I now have them in my office where they remind me of the rich history of our country’s Capitol. This is a picture of the bookends.

Categories: Research & Litigation


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