Researching Circuit Splits

Topical areas where courts have made conflicting decisions on legal issues can be fruitful writing topics. Below are some resources useful in researching recent Circuit splits.

BNA U.S. Law Week is a weekly publication that reports summaries of new decisions from state, federal, and administrative courts, and reports on new legislative and regulatory developments. Circuit splits are featured by topic, case name, and summary of the disputed issue. This publication can be accessed from the Library’s Quick Links menu while at the law school or while connected through the proxy server from an off-campus location.

From the front page of BNA U.S. Law Week, select the “Advanced Search” option below the search box.

  • To find circuit splits, try searching  circuit* /s split* /s report* and restrict by date to see recent splits.
  • To find recent cases dealing with Fourth Amendment issues, try searching the HEADINGS field for “fourth amendment” and restrict by date to the last year.

There are also two great blogs devoted to reporting on splits among federal circuit courts:

  • Split Circuits, written by law professor A. Benjamin Spencer
  • Circuit Splits, written by two Texas attorneys, a law professor, and a law review editor

For additional tips on developing and researching a seminar paper topic, check out the Research Guide by librarian Kathleen Darvil, or speak to any of the Reference Librarians.

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