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PSCI 412: Constitutional Law: Powers of Government

Getting Started

PSCI 412 Getting Started

You are researching and writing an analysis of a current Supreme Court Justice. You will choose any one of the seven justices who have served at least five terms on the court.

Dr. Beavers is asking you to report on what your specific Justice has ruled and the evidence for why they have interpreted the Constitution and US law in the way they have.

    Use one specific consititutional issue to focus and illustrate your responses to the research paper's questions:

    • What are Justice X's views on judicial power and the Constitution? How have they evolved?
    • What are the tools of constitutional interpretation she/he refers to?
    • How will her/his stance on an issue uphold or affect the work of the Supreme Court?
    • Evaluate their understanding of judicial power as shown in their stand on the issue (remain objective as much as you can.)

    You must use both relevant primary sources and scholary or legal sources (not general news media). This includes at a minimum:

    • THREE of their written options (Majority, Concurring, or Dissenting.)
    • TWO of their speeches and/or academic writings (such as law review articles or confirmation hearing testimony.)
    • THREE secondary scholary sources (law reviews written by others, or research-based articles by others.)

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

    Law Reviews

    PSCI 412 Law Reviews

    What you need to find:

    Justice X's early and current interpretation of the law regarding judicial power and your chosen issue.

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

    • Westlaw
    • JSTOR (a more limited collection)

    Search Westlaw:

    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 your Justice's name. This will be a mix of material by them or about them and their interpretations.
    6. Use the Advanced search option in this screen to limit to materials written by him (type your Justice's name in the AUTHOR box.) Be aware there may be others with similiar names.

    Search the Library Catalog to find a specific law review article:

    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!)

    Search Google Scholar:

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

    Scholarly Articles

    PSCI 412 - Articles

    You may discover a good article from one of your other sources but most of the time you will want to do a search in the Library Databases. Rather than doing a database-specific search as for the law reviews in Westlaw, use the Articles+ option on the Library home page.

    Doing a general search:

    1. From the Library home page, select ARTICLES+
    2. Type in your Justice's name in double quotes "Ruth Bader Ginsburg" and add a phrase about your issue e.g., "women's rights"
    3. On the left of the screen, click the boxes to retrieve only peer-reviewed articles and full text.
    4. You can activate other limiters as well such as date published (to only get the most recent articles)

    Have a specific article title?

    1. From the Library home page, select ARTICLES+
    2. Type or paste the article title in the box and search.
    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!)

       

    Want to find everything your Justice has written (which can return some pretty useless stuff)?

    1. Use the Articles+ search and choose the ADVANCED option
    2. Type in Lastname, Firstname as author.

    Books

    PSCI 412 - Books

    Books can be useful for surveys of a Justice's life and thinking on issues as well as background on long-standing issues that continue to come to the SCOTUS.

    Searching the Library Catalog--Select the Books & More tab on the Library home page:

    Biographical material

    1. Type in the Justice in lastname firstname order
    2. Change the drop down option from keyword to SUBJECT
    3. Click SEARCH
    4. You may need to limit the results to books only (videos and some other formats will come up)
    5. Review the results to find the most current and most scholarly title.

    Works BY the Justice

    1. Type in the Justice in lastname firstname order
    2. Change the drop down option from keyword to AUTHOR
    3. Click SEARCH
    4. The Justice may be one of many authors or it may be someone with a similar name, so be very diligent in verifying.

    If you aren't finding anything or the book you want is not available, you can request books through CSU+ for a free loan from another CSU.

    Citing Legal Materials

    Need Help?

    Judith A. Downie

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

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