Need a think tank report?

As you prepare seminar papers and other reports, you might find the need to include a report from respected Think Tanks or public policy organizations. PolicyFile is the comprehensive database providing access to this material. It has recently migrated to the familiar ProQuest database platform making this easily searchable for all.

Over 75 public policy topics are covered, from foreign policy to domestic policy. When a report is located you are sure that the organization has been vetted making this resources more authoritative than a random Google search.

If you have any questions regarding public policy research, consult our research guide or ask a librarian for assistance.

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Presidential Documents Research Guide

Looking for the most authoritative source for presidential documents? Googling does not work. You should only cite to the Federal Register or the Code of Federal Regulations, not or some other web site. Georgetown’s research guide on Presidential Documents provides direct links to the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, as well as links to historical versions of these authoritative sources.

If you have a question about these sources, don’t hesitate to ask a reference librarian.


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Neil Gorsuch Nominated to the Supreme Court

3494085120_93e5424dc6_mFollowing the nomination announcement of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to become the next Associate Justice of The Supreme Court, the Library has updated the Supreme Court Nominations Research Guide. We have compiled a list of resources concerning Judge Gorsuch which include biographical information, court opinions, appellate briefs, Congressional hearings and scholarly publications. We will continue to post more information, including links to confirmation hearings, so check our guide often for updates.


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New Database – ProQuest U.S. Supreme Court Insight

ProQuest has now begun to digitize the U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs collection which was previously available on microfilm, so Georgetown Law Library is making it available for researchers. At this time, records are available for U.S. Supreme Court cases from 2004-2014. Each quarter of 2017, ProQuest will include more material. Their schedule is:

  • Q2 1995-2004
  • Q3 1985-1994
  • Q4 1975-1984

They will also be adding the most recent material in the next few months as well, providing coverage to the most recent 2016-2017 term.

Supreme Court Insight, 1975-2016, is a complete online collection of full opinions from Supreme Court argued cases, including per decision, dockets, oral arguments, joint appendices and amicus briefs. Check out the library’s Supreme Court Research Guide for more information or feel free to ask a reference librarian for assistance with Supreme Court research.

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UK Supreme Court Confirms Parliament Must Trigger Brexit

Following the referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU held on June 23, 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that her government would initiate the process of withdrawing from the EU by the end of March, 2017, without holding a vote in Parliament.  This decision prompted a legal challenge.

On November 3, 2016, a three-judge panel of the High Court of Justice unanimously ruled that the government must obtain Parliament’s consent before it can trigger the formal process of withdrawing from the EU, pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.

The government argued that it had the authority to withdraw from treaties without seeking parliamentary approval under the “royal prerogative,” the executive powers derived from the monarch under the UK’s unwritten constitution. The High Court rejected this argument on the grounds that the European Communities Act, the statute through which Parliament enabled EU law to have direct effect in the UK, had created enforceable rights for individuals under UK domestic law.  The High Court concluded that only Parliament, not the government, has the authority to enact changes in the law that would alter rights established under duly enacted domestic legislation.

UK Supreme Court in the former Middlesex County Guildhall. Photo by David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons. CC-By-SA 3.0 Unported License

UK Supreme Court in the former Middlesex County Guildhall. Photo by David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA 3.0 License.

The government appealed the High Court’s ruling to the UK’s Supreme Court.  A panel comprised of all 11 Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in early December on an expedited basis.  On January 24, 2017, the Supreme Court handed down its eagerly anticipated judgment.

By an 8-3 majority, the Supreme Court dismissed the government’s appeal and upheld the ruling of the High Court on the question of parliamentary sovereignty, stating that “the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of Parliament authorizing that course.”  The Court’s holding will become a landmark precedent in the field of British constitutional law.

David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, announced that the government will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision and introduce a bill “within days” authorizing the government to notify the European Commission of the UK’s intention to withdraw.  Even though the government’s majority is small, it is extremely unlikely that Parliament will refuse to pass the bill.

Nevertheless, members of opposition parties and even some members of the governing Conservative Party, are likely to offer amendments to the bill that will place constraints on the government’s negotiating position, potentially requiring it to maintain the UK’s participation in the EU’s single market and customs union.  Other amendments could require Parliament to approve the withdrawal agreement before it can take effect or force the government to reopen negotiations with the EU if Parliament rejects the terms of the deal.

The government did prevail in a parallel challenge to Brexit brought under the Northern Ireland Act, which asserted that the Northern Ireland Assembly, or the people of Northern Ireland, must consent to any change in the UK’s relationship with the EU.  This challenge was supported by the Scottish government.  Scotland and Northern Ireland, two of the UK’s four constituent nations, each have devolved legislatures that are responsible for education, health, and other matters within their respective jurisdictions.  Both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted in favor of remaining in the EU.

The 11 Supreme Court justices unanimously rejected the devolution argument, holding that the devolved legislatures in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales cannot exercise a veto over the decision to withdraw from the EU because authority over the UK’s foreign relations is a reserved power that may be exercised only by the UK government and the national Parliament in London.

For more information about Brexit and its implications for the UK, consult the Brexit and Constitutional Law pages of the Georgetown Law Library’s UK Legal Research Guide.

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Library Training for Faculty Research Assistants

Library Training for Faculty Research Assistants

The library will be holding two orientation training sessions for new faculty research assistants this spring.  In this training, RAs will learn about library services and policies and will gain an introduction to our databases and to best research practices.

The sessions will be:

  • Friday, February 3rd, 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Wednesday, February  8th, 3:30pm-4:30pm

All sessions will be held in the Computer Learning Center (CLC) in the Williams Law Library.

To attend this training, please RSVP here.  Any questions can be sent to Jeremy McCabe, Research Services Librarian,, 202-662-9145.

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New Database – American Civil Liberties Union Papers 1912-1990

As a complement to our new research guide on Civil Rights, we have acquired a new database of primary source material of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from before(1912) its inception in 1920 until 1990. Researchers will be able to look at the inner workings of the ACLU with this material.

Over 2 million pages of the Mudd Library at Princeton University have been digitized to create this collection of bills, briefs, case files, telegrams, reports and more. Please feel free to ask a librarian if you have any questions about our new guide or the new database.

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New Research Guide on Civil Rights

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of MLK Day, the Georgetown Law Library would like to highlight a new research guide available to the public. A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States covers various movements from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, to the suffragettes of the 1800s, immigrants in internment camps, the riots at the Stonewall Inn, to the fight for equal education for children with disabilities, among others. The guide offers available library resources for each topic, notable Supreme Court cases, and at its conclusion, a list of current organizations dedicated to protecting civil rights that one can get involved with, either via donating or through volunteer work.

It is our hope that this guide will be useful to those who seek it out. We will continue to update it and welcome feedback on what we can add that would be useful to recipients. Please email with any suggestions you have for improvement to the guide.

Thank you and we hope you have a happy and productive Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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New for the 2nd semester – Library FAQs

Georgetown Law Library now has a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide insight into some of our most asked questions at the library. Need to know how to renew a book or start a legislative history? Check out our FAQs – we’ll get you started.

As always, feel free to chat with a librarian during regular reference hours, but if you have a question at 2 am, we hope our FAQs will get you started!


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2017 Inauguration – Library Hours

This year, Inauguration Day will take place on Friday, January 20th.  The Law Center — including the Law Library — will be closed.  The Law Library reference desks in Wolff and Williams will close at 5pm the day before (Thursday, January 19th).  Regular hours will resume Saturday, January 21st.

The details of the secure zone have not yet been released.  In previous years, the zone has covered about 1.5 miles from K Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW on the north to Independence Avenue NE & NW on the south, and 2nd Street NE on the east to 23rd Street NW on the west.  To be allowed into this area you must have and show current Law Center identification at security checkpoints.

For newcomers to DC, this Guide to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration provides some information about additional closures (e.g., Metro stations).  Many locals will be staying home to avoid the commotion, which is expected to continue at least until the next day when the Women’s March on Washington will take place.

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