Journal Staff Legal Research Guide

Conducting a Source and Cite Check for a Journal?  Check out the library’s guide for journal staff.  It answers general questions about choosing a topic, preemption checks, locating and borrowing materials, and cite and source checking.


Welcome 1L Students!

We met many of the new students during the recent library 1L orientation, but if you were unable to attend, here is a summary of some of the most important things we covered:

1L students will receive passwords for TWEN at orientation. First week assignments are posted here.

Library Survival Guide
If you need information about law school in general, briefing a case, or outlining, consult our new student guide.

Study Aids

The library has a variety of study aids located in our reserve section including: Nutshells, Hornbooks, Examples and Explanations, Emanuel Law Outlines and Gilbert Law Summaries.  For specific titles see our guide on finding study aids.

The library maintains one copy of each required first year casebook in the Reserve area for two-hour check-out (no overnight checkouts).  The first year casebook collection is to be used for quick reference or limited photocopying and is not intended to be a substitute for purchasing casebooks.  The library does not purchase copies of required supplementary materials/handouts or upper division course materials.  

Study Rooms

Study rooms can be reserved for your study group.  It’s a two hour maximum per day per group.  For more information, visit the library website and click on Reserve a Study Room.


This is the authoritative guide to our favorite things here in the library to help you survive being a 1L.  It covers resources about law school, case briefing, and outlining.


US Legal System

It’s a little more than just being a bill sitting up here on Capitol Hill; this research guide by Kelly Kunsch is useful for new students or people with a burning interest in Constitutional law, as well as a comparative reference for the differences between state and Federal legal systems as well as Indian legal systems within their respective Nations.


Finding Study Aids

Need an overview of a particular area of law or to clarify a particular legal concept?  The law library purchases the following study aid series:

  • West Hornbooks
  • West Nutshells
  • Examples and Explanations
  • Gilbert Law Summaries
  • Emanuel Law Outlines

Current study aids are located in the Reserve collection.  Check the online catalog for specific titles  Study aids are available for 2-hour check out and selected “starred” copies can be checked out for 24 hours.  “Starred” books cannot be renewed.  Fines will accrue for late items at the rate of $1 per hour. If you would like to check out a study aid for 6 weeks, selected copies of older editions of these study aids are located in the Treatise collection for checkout.

The law library is pleased to provide students with this collection.  We hope that students will take care to maintain the collection for the benefit of everyone.  Remember, study aids are just that: aids to your regular study.  They are not a substitute for attending class and reading required material!


Locating Past Exams

When you’re studying, it can be really helpful to see sample questions, either from a professor or in the subject matter generally.  This guide by Charity Braceros-Simon shows you where the past exams are, how they are organized, and what you need to know about finding old exams.  Newer exams are placed on TWEN sites at the discretion of faculty members.


Looking at the Law in all 50 States

This guide is a veritable bonanza for legal researchers in finding work that has already been done so you don’t reinvent the wheel.


Judicial Appointments eBooks at SU

With President Obama’s recent Supreme Court nomination, judicial appointments have been in the news. If you’re interested in learning more about judicial appointments from the comfort of your home, check out these eBooks from Seattle University’s Library:

Two-Fer Electing a President and a Supreme Court by Clint Bolick (2012)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

Constitutional scholar Clint Bolick examines the importance of judicial nominations in current and future political campaigns—not just in campaigns for president but also for the senators who confirm the nominees and the governors who appoint state court judges. He offers his opinion of the framers’ original intentions—that the judiciary play a robust role in curbing abuses of government power and protecting individual rights—and provides both a historical perspective and a look at the courts’ decisions on today’s most contentious issues.

Court Nominations Issues in Nomination and Confirmation by Peter C. Kesterhoff (2009)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

This new book sheds light on whether Senate processing of lower court nominations, particularly to the courts of appeals, has tended over recent decades to slow down in presidential election years. The report begins by reviewing recent debate, and historical events dating back to 1980, concerning whether the Senate and its Judiciary Committee customarily observe a practice referred to as the “Thurmond rule.” Next, the report provides narratives on each presidential election year from 1980 to 2004, reviewing Senate and committee actions taken on court of appeals and district court nominations in each of the years. The book then compares these years quantitatively, examining the number and percent of nominations processed and the last dates of committee and Senate action taken. Findings include the following: Senators of both parties at different times have spoken of their expectations of a drop-off in processing of judicial nominations occurring earlier in presidential election years than in other years. However, there is no written Senate or Judiciary Committee rule — nor was any bipartisan agreement reached during the 1980-2004 period — concerning judicial nominations in presidential election years.

Advice and Dissent The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary by Sarah A. Binder & Forrest Maltzman (2009)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

For better or worse, federal judges in the United States today are asked to resolve some of the nation’s most important and contentious public policy issues. Although some hold onto the notion that federal judges are simply neutral arbiters of complex legal questions, the justices who serve on the Supreme Court and the judges who sit on the lower federal bench are in fact crafters of public law. In recent years, for example, the Supreme Court has bolstered the rights of immigrants, endorsed the constitutionality of school vouchers, struck down Washington D.C.’s blanket ban on handgun ownership, and most famously, determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. The judiciary now is an active partner in the making of public policy.

Advice and Consent : The Politics of Judicial Appointments by Lee Epstein & Jeffrey A. Segal (2005)

Available at: ebrary Academic Complete. Publisher’s Description:

From Louis Brandeis to Robert Bork to Clarence Thomas, the nomination of federal judges has generated intense political conflict. With the coming retirement of one or more Supreme Court Justices–and threats to filibuster lower court judges–the selection process is likely to be, once again, the center of red-hot partisan debate. In Advice and Consent, two leading legal scholars, Lee Epstein and Jeffrey A. Segal, offer a brief, illuminating Baedeker to this highly important procedure, discussing everything from constitutional background, to crucial differences in the nomination of judges and justices, to the role of the Judiciary Committee in vetting nominees. Epstein and Segal shed light on the role played by the media, by the American Bar Association, and by special interest groups (whose efforts helped defeat Judge Bork). Though it is often assumed that political clashes over nominees are a new phenomenon, the authors argue that the appointment of justices and judges has always been a highly contentious process–one largely driven by ideological and partisan concerns. The reader discovers how presidents and the senate have tried to remake the bench, ranging from FDRs controversial court packing scheme to the Senates creation in 1978 of 35 new appellate and 117 district court judgeships, allowing the Democrats to shape the judiciary for years. The authors conclude with possible reforms, from the so-called nuclear option, whereby a majority of the Senate could vote to prohibit filibusters, to the even more dramatic suggestion that Congress eliminate a judges life tenure either by term limits or compulsory retirement. With key appointments looming on the horizon, Advice and Consent provides everything concerned citizens need to know to understand the partisan rows that surround the judicial nominating process.

Check out this handy guide for information on how to use eBooks at SU.


Preemption Check

This guide shows you how to do preemption checks on your potential law review articles, or major scholarly writings which you might be doing for an independent study. A preemption check is much more than just Shepardizing, and this guide tells you how to do it yourself and do it right the first time.


Supreme Court Nomination Process

It does not happen often but the President will soon be nominating a candidate to be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. This often contentious process is described in a research guide available from the Georgetown Law Library. The guide details not only the process, but the history of nominations and citations and (sometimes) links to source documents.


Links to Government Research Resources

From THOMAS to FedWorld, here’s every link you’ll ever need to do governmental research online for free. The Federal Government puts most of this information online at no charge; this research guide tells you where to find it.