A full case citation includes the names, or parties, of the case (Rule 10.2); the case reporter where it is published (Rule 10.3); a parenthetical that indicates the court and jurisdiction (Rule 10.4); and the date/year of the decision (Rule 10.5). Remember, not all cases (except Supreme Court cases) are published.
Example of a U.S. Supreme Court case citation:
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)
|Lawrence v. Texas||539 U.S. 558||(2003)|
|Party Names||Case Reporter Citation||Parenthetical|
United States Supreme Court
|Supreme Court Reporter (West)||S. Ct.||KF 101 W4|
|United States Reports (Official)||U.S.||KF 101|
|United State Supreme Court Reports / Lawyer’s Edition (Lexis)||U.S.L.Ed.||KF 101 L31|
Circuit Court of Appeals
|Federal Reporter||F.||KF 105 W402|
|Federal Reporter, Second Series||F. 2d||KF 105 W403|
|Federal Reporter, Third Series||F. 3d||KF 105 W404|
Federal District Trial Courts
|Federal Supplement||F. Supp.||KF 105 W42|
|Federal Supplement, Second Series||F. Supp. 2d||KF 105 W43|
Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.): The West Publishing reporter for the Supreme Court. In addition to the Court's Opinion and the Syllabus, S. Ct. introduces each case with a series of so-called "headnotes" distilling and categorizing major legal conclusions in the opinion.
KF 101 W4 Mabie Stacks
United States Reports (U.S.): The official reporter for decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The actual opinion of the Court is preceded by a "syllabus," written by a Court employee, summarizing the issues decided. The Syllabus is not part of the opinion, and should be relied on only for a quick overview of the case. The Supreme Court once rebuked a litigant for carelessly quoting a Syllabus rather than the opinion it inaccurately summarized (200 U.S. 321).
KF 101 Law Stacks
United States Supreme Court Reports / Lawyer's Edition (U.S.L.Ed.): An alternative collection of Supreme Court decisions from the private publisher Lawyers Cooperative (Lexis). L. Ed. 2d is less widely available in the United States than U.S. or S. Ct., although it includes some useful features (such as summaries of the parties' arguments) not found in the more common reporters.
KF 101 L31 Law Stacks
United States Law Week (U.S.L.W.): A looseleaf service published by BNA. USLW is the most up-to-date hardcopy form of Court decisions, and includes excellent indexes for determining the status of a pending case (or locating a recent opinion) on the basis of party names, subject matter, or docket number.
KF 101.A6 U5 Law Stacks
Federal Reporter (F., F.2d, F.3d): Includes decisions of the federal district and appellate courts through 1925. There is no equivalent official reporter; this is the only comprehensive printed source for Circuit Court appellate opinions.
KF 105 W403 Law Stacks
Federal Supplement (F.Supp, F.Supp.2d): Cases argued and determined in the United States District Courts, United States Court of International Trade, Special Court, Regional Rail Reorganization Act and rulings of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Includes decisions of the federal district courts from 1931-1998. However, F. Supp. represents only a fraction of the orders issued by federal trial courts. Other district level cases may appear in Federal Rules Decisions or in West's Bankruptcy Reporter.
KF 105 W42 Law Stacks
Federal Rules Decisions (F.R.D.): Contains cases involving the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure.
KF 8830 W4 Law Stacks
West's Bankruptcy Reporter (B.R.): Bankruptcy cases decided in the United States bankruptcy courts, United States district courts, United States courts of appeals, and Supreme Court of the United States
KF 1515.A2 W4 Law Stacks
Tax Court Reporter
KF 6324.A6 C6 Reserve Collection
Federal Claims Reporter
KF 125.C5 U55 Law Stacks
Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals
KF 853.4 U5 Reserve Collection