Documents Collection Center

Welcome to the Yale Law School Library Document Collection Center. This site will publish discrete collections of research material collected by the library.

Some collections are related to faculty publications the library worked on, some collections come from in-house digitization projects, and others have been collected as part of other law school projects.

We look forward to adding additional collections and enhancements in the future, including a powerful cross-collection search. For questions, comments, and suggestions please contact the Law Library Webmaster


Litchfield Law School Sources

This website is a portal for bringing together text, images, interpretive material and bibliography about Litchfield Law School and the law notebooks kept by its students.

Database of Federal Statute Names

The collection can be sorted by the popular name of the law, by the date of its enactment, or by descriptive category of naming convention. The categories are our attempt to bring some degree of order to the chaos.

Before Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion–but the debate was far from over, continuing to be a political battleground to this day. In the decades since the case was decided, the American debate on abortion has moved away from the issues that the justices confronted more than three decades ago. Bringing to light key voices that illuminate the case and its cultural context, Before Roe v. Wade looks back and recaptures how the arguments for and against abortion took shape as claims about the meaning of the Constitution—and about how the nation could best honor its commitment to dignity, liberty, equality, and life. In this book, Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel collect the most significant historical, cultural, and legal documents which helped shape the Supreme Court’s controversial decision. This website gives readers a preview to those documents and much more.

Pronouncing Dictionary of the Supreme Court of the United States

Although the United States is famously a nation of immigrants, Americans often struggle with the pronunciation of foreign words and names. Mispronunciation of even common foreign words is ubiquitous (Eye-rack and Eye-ran spring to mind). Foreign names in legal matters present a particular challenge for legal professionals. The purpose of the Pronouncing Dictionary of United States Supreme Court cases, compiled by  YLS students Usha Chilukuri, Megan Corrarino, Brigid Davis, Kate Hadley, Daniel Jang, Sally Pei, and Yale University Linguistics Department students Diallo Spears and Jason Zentz, working with Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law Eugene Fidell, is to help conscientious lawyers, judges, teachers, students, and journalists correctly pronounce often-perplexing case names.

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum: Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges Amicus Curiae Brief & Sources

The Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges is an independent Center that promotes the understanding of international law, national security law, and foreign relations law. The Center has filed two briefs as amicus curiae in support of the petitioners in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. in order to promote accurate interpretation of international law in the case at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Both briefs are available on the Center’s website.  The Center’s Supplemental Brief argues that extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute is fully consistent with international law.  Under the fundamental Lotus principle of international law, each nation-state has broad authority to exercise extraterritorial criminal and civil jurisdiction to enforce international law. This authority is inherent in state sovereignty and is subject only to specific and affirmative international law limitations, such as sovereign immunity, that are not relevant in the Kiobel case.  The Supplemental Brief proceeds to show that extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute is consistent with both treaty law and international tribunal jurisprudence. Moreover, the Supplemental Brief makes clear that the United States is far from alone in asserting extraterritorial civil jurisdiction over violations of international law. Many countries have exercised their power as sovereign states to provide for both civil and criminal extraterritorial jurisdiction over such violations and some foreign courts have entertained Alien Tort Statute-like extraterritorial civil suits. This website was established to provide ready access to the sources cited in the Center’s Supplemental Brief, which include foreign statutes and case law from around the globe, as well as international law and domestic law and some secondary source materials.

Lincoln's Code

     In the fateful closing days of 1862, just three weeks before Emancipation, Abraham Lincoln’s top military advisors commissioned a code of rules to govern the armies of the United States in a newly intensified war effort. The code Lincoln issued the next spring helped shape the remaining two years of Civil War. Its rules on torture, prisoners of war, assassination, and more quickly became foundations of the modern laws of war and today’s Geneva Conventions. Yet the hidden story of Lincoln’s code, and of the decades of controversy that lay behind it, has never been told.  

     In this masterful and strikingly original history, John Witt charts the alternately troubled and triumphant course of the laws of war in America from the Founding Founders to the dawn of the modern era, revealing the history of a code that reshaped the laws of war the world over. Ranging from the Revolution to the War of 1812, from war with Mexico to the Civil War, from Indian wars to the brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the Philippines, Witt tells a story that features presidents as well as men in the throes of battle, one that spans war-makers and pacifists, Indians and slaves. In a time of heated controversy about the nation’s conduct in the war on terror, Lincoln’s Code is a compelling story of ideals under pressure and a landmark contribution to our understanding of the American experience.  

Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms

By mapping the remarkable run of the icon of Justice, a woman with scales and sword, and by tracing the development of public spaces dedicated to justice—courthouses—Professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis explore the evolution of adjudication into its modern form as well as the intimate relationship between the courts and democracy. The authors analyze how Renaissance “rites” of judgment turned into democratic “rights,” requiring governments to respect judicial independence, provide open and public hearings, and accord access and dignity to “every person.” With over 220 images, readers can see both the longevity of aspirations for justice and the transformation of courts, as well as understand that, while venerable, courts are also vulnerable institutions that should not be taken for granted. This website gives readers a preview to some of those images and much more.

View the online exhibit from the Yale Law Library’s Rare Book Collection: “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” here.