Getting Started

PSCI 412 Getting Started

This semester, you are researching and writing an analysis regarding Brett Kavanaugh's interpretation of the Consitition. The fact that he has just been appointed a Supreme Court Justice will not have bearing on your analysis.

Dr. Beavers is asking you to report on what are Kavanaugh's views on judicial power and the Constitution. Use one specific consititutional issue to address the research paper's questions:

  • What are Kavanaugh's views on judicial power and the Constitition? How have they evolved?
  • What are the tools of consititutional interpretation he refers to?
  • How will his stance on an issue uphold or affect the work of the Supreme Court?
  • Evaluate Kavanaugh's understanding of judicial power (keep objective as much as you can)

From all this, argue YOUR view of:

  • How should Kavanaugh's views on judicial power be treated as a factor in his confirmation?
  • Are there other factors to consider in SCOTUS confirmations?

Using your assignment description, build a search strategy to save time and find relevant resources to support YOUR argument:

Locate prior writings by Kavanaugh (either relevant law review articles or prior opinions.)

What public statements has he made that reflect his views? (Testimony, speeches)

Locate reputable legal and scholarly sources that disagree with Kavanaugh's stance.

You need a MINIMUM of the following:

FOUR primary sources.

TWO scholarly or legal sources with alternative perspectives.

Law Reviews

PSCI 412 Law Reviews

What you need to find:

Kavanaugh's early and current interpretation of the law regarding judicial power.

Law reviews are a common publication form for this and you will find them in:

  • Westlaw
  • JSTOR (a more limited collection)

How to search:


  1. Open from the Database by title (under W)
  2. Log in with University ID if you are off campus
  3. Open the Secondary Sources link
  4. Select "Law Reviews and Journals"
  5. Search Kavanaugh. This will be a mix of material by him or about him and his interpretations.
  6. Use the Advanced search option in this screen to limit to materials written by him (type Kavanaugh in the AUTHOR box.) Be aware there are other Kavanaughs.

Library Catalog--this works if you have a particular article or journal you are looking for.

Have the article title?

  1. From the Library home page, select ARTICLES+
  2. Type or paste the article title in the box
  3. Select the appropriate record.
  4. If a database link is provided, click on that to reach full text.
  5. If no full text is available, use request through our document delivery option (free to you!)

Have the journal title?

  1. From the Library home page, select BOOKS AND MORE as your search.
  2. Type or paste the JOURNAL title in the box.
  3. Select the appropriate record.
  4. Follow the link to the database that contains the journal.
  5. Search for the article title OR for Kavanaugh as the author.

Want to find everything Kavanaugh has written?

  1. Use the Articles+ search and choose the ADVANCED option
  2. Type in Kavanaugh, Brett

Google Scholar

  1. Search Kavanaugh Brett and "law review"
  2. You are not guaranteed access to the full text.

Primary Sources

PSCI 412 Primary Sources

For your convenience:

Kavanaugh's prepared testimony to the Senate (September 26, 2018

Senate Judiciary Documents (filed by number)

Kavanaugh's responses to Judiciary questionnaire (summarizing his experience and writings)

2006 Confirmation hearings for the US Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)

S. Hrg. 108-878

S. Hrg. 109-435


US Court of Appeals DC Circuit (Look for Case Information and you will find the Opinion Locator there) 


SCOTUS Blog of Kavanaugh's extra-judicial writing and speeches (Do NOT cite this source, go to the actual material!)

Background Tools: 

Supreme Court of the United States web site

US Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis, and Interpretation: Centennial Edition-Interim (August 26, 2017.)

Citing Legal Materials

Need Help?

Judith A. Downie

Special Collections and History Librarian
Judith A. Downie
760-750-4374 OR 760-750-4312 (Archives)
Office Location: 
KEL 5010
Office Hours: 
By Appointment