Political Science - Primary sources

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Finding Legislation

Find legislation by topic or bill number

State Legislation & Ballot Propositions

  • California Assembly and Senate Bills, Legislative Counsel of California. Search by keywords or bill number to find state legislation about your topic. You can search the current or past sessions. Included in this database are the following:
    • Status and history
    • Bill text
    • Analysis (this analysis is used by legislators to make voting decisions, so it would be considered a primary source)
    • Votes
  • California Ballot Propositions. From the Secretary of State, this page will link you to voter information guides from past elections. In order to find information about your proposition, you will need to know what ballot it appeared on. Ballot Measure Archive

Federal Legislation

  • THOMAS, Library of Congress. THOMAS includes legislative information from the U.S. Congress. Search by keywords or bill number to find federal legislation about your topic. You can search the current or past sessions. When you find a bill, click on "Bill Summary & Status" for the following:
    • Text of Legislation
    • Cosponsors
    • Related Bills
    • Major Congressional Actions - this is where you will find the voting records, and passage/failure
  • Years and Session Dates of Congress If you have the bill number and year, but not the session of Congress, use this website to get it.


Finding Court Cases

The best source for CASES is Lexis/Nexis Academic found in the research databases page.

  1. You can search for a case by the name of the case right from the main search screen.
  2. You can search by the citation from the main search screen (347 U.S. 475). For more on citations see: http://www.lexisnexis.com/communities/academic/default.aspx
  3. OR you can search following these steps: On the left menu choose US LEGAL, then select Federal & State Cases.Then see below:
CASES

To find a case involving due process:

  • Once you are in the Cases area you can enter terms or do a more specialized search. If you have the parties names, or the citation, enter the parties names under CASE NAME.  On the left menu, select FEDERAL AND STATE CASES, then type in the PARTY NAMES or the CITATION NUMBER
  • Another way to search:
  1. At the bottom of the search area you will see a link POWER SEARCH. Click on this link to open up advanced search options.
  2. Under the section called ADD SEARCH SECTION, select a segment
  3. Choose SYLLABUS
  4. Type in DUE PROCESS into the TERMS box
  5. Click ADD TO SEARCH
  6. Choose your DATE RANGE
  7. Click SEARCH

   See this short video (no audio) for a demonstration of this search: http://www.screencast.com/users/infolitlib/folders/Jing/media/896e6a3c-d24d-4ce2-8cfc-cefb39caad4a

 

 

Search within Document Sections :   

Document sections are specific, pre-defined segments of a document in which you may target your search. For example, search for specific words in the headline or case summary section or a specific name only within the judge or byline section. Follow the steps below to search within a document section:
 
Example: SUMMARY(due process) and CONCURBY(alito)

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