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Political Science and International Studies

Political Science and International Studies resources of various kinds

Legal Research

Nexis Uni, the most useful library database for legal research. You can find cases and law review articles there.

Nexis Uni tips:

  • Try the atleast command, eg, atleast5 (contract breach), to have the keywords contract breach in the records at least 5 times.
  • Law Review pagination.  Law Reviews articles on Nexis Uni are not in PDF files, but they do have page numbers. They are in  [ ] , eg,  [*561] .
  • Sherpard symbols for cases.  They may be added before the case titles.  Please see Shepard’s Signal indicators for which signal indicates what.

Other Resources

Federal Laws and Regulations

  • United States Code. The U.S. Code is the official edition of the federal statutory code. All current laws are arranged by subject into titles, and over time, subsequent amendments are incorporated into the original laws. Code volumes are issued every six years with supplements being issued in the intervening years.
  • Public & Private Laws The U.S. Federal government no longer publishes Slip Laws in paper. Newly enacted laws are first published as individual documents, now available on the web. These documents are later arranged in chronological order, and published as Statutes at Large.

Court Decisions

  • Supreme Court Opinions The Supreme Court's full written opinions issued when the decisions are handed down are included on this site. Written opinions are subject to formal revisions before publication in the United States ReportsUnited States Reports are available on the Court's web page from 1991. The Library has United States Reports from volume 332 (see below).
  • Illinois Supreme Court Opinions from recent years are available on the Court's web site.

Illinois Laws and Legislation

Legal Citations

The basic format for legal citations contains:

The volume number of title cited, the abbreviated title including appropriate series or notations, and a page or section number. It may include a date.

Note the following examples from the U.S. Code and U.S. Reports:

  • 46 U.S.C. 761-68 (1970)
  • 343 U.S. 579 (1952)

At times the popular name of a law or the names of parties in a court case are listed with the citation, as in the examples below:

  • Civil Rights law of 1964, 28 U.S.C. 1447
  • Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, 346 U.S. 483 (1954)


At times a citation will include both a reference to the official reporter and a reference to a commercially published reporter, as shown in the following examples:

  • Maxwell v. O'Connor l Ill. App. 1d. 124, 117 N.E. 2d. 326,328 (1953)
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 98 S.Ct. 2733, 57 L.Ed. 2d. 750 (1978)

Common Legal Abbreviations

Legal citations can be confusing because they are so heavily abbreviated, but the abbreviations are somewhat standardized. A list of frequently found legal abbreviations is given below:

  • A.L.R. Fed. American Law Reports Federal
  • Am.Jur. 2d. American Jurisprudence. Second Series
  • C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations
  • C.J.S. Corpus Juris Secundum
  • Ill. Illinois Reports
  • Ill.App. Illinois Appellate Court Reports
  • Ill.App.2nd Illinois Appellate Court Reports. Second Series
  • Ill.Rev.Stat.1977 Illinois Revised Statutes 1977
  • L.Ed. U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition
  • L.Ed. 2d U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition. Second Series
  • N.E. North Eastern Reporter
  • P.A. Public Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor
  • U.S. United States Reports
  • U.S.C. United States Code
  • U.S.C.S. United States Code Service
  • U.S.L.W. U.S. Law Week

A complete list of legal abbreviations can be found in Doris M. Bieber's work, A Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations [Ref KF 246 .B46].

Other Online Resources