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SSI2-182: Against Equality?

Getting Started with Nexis Uni

For your independent research assignment in this class, you'll need to develop and respond to a research question addressing a Supreme Court decision that has had a significant effect on life in our country today. This page provides resources and tips for finding the full text of these decisions including concurrence and dissenting opinions. 

What is Nexis Uni?

Nexis Uni is a powerful search tool and a rich source of information for a wide range of topics including business, law, environment, health and medicine, government, consumer, biographies/people, country profiles, and news. 

Legal information in Nexis Uni includes the full text to the following:

  • All federal and state statutes, codes and regulations
  • All federal and state case law going back to the inception of that body of law (1789 for federal and date of statehood for the states)
  • Articles from major law journals
  • Briefs of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Shepard's Citations 
  • Plus a number of basic legal reference sources 

Case Law

Case law involves decisions made by the courts/judges, published in 'reporters.' The judicial branch of the government interprets the laws passed by the legislative and executive branches and hears actions to enforce the requirements.

A typical citation: 

Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584

Includes the name of the parties in the case, the volume number of the reporter containing the full text of the case, the abbreviated name of that case reporter (here the S. Ct. is the abbreviation for the federal Supreme Court reporter), and the page number where the case begins.

How To Find a Specific Legal Case: Main Search Box

You can quickly find a case on Nexis Uni in a variety ways. When looking for cases, it is best to search by the citation because you go directly to the case.​

  1. Type the case citation or party name in the big search box


  1. Click on All Content Types (next to the magnifying glass icon) and select Legal
  2. Choose Cases - US - the court or state if you know it
  3. Type in the case citation

How To Find Legal Cases: Pod Searching

From the home page, you can create a simple search targeting a particular type of content through the Task Pods. Click on the content type that you want to search and fill in the available options. 

For example:

pod searching example

Shepardizing & Signal Indicators

Shepard's provides a comprehensive case citation and treatment history to verify the validity of case law, statutes, agency opinion, and other legal document. When you shepardize a case, you will find "citing decisions" that refer to the original case. Those appeals may affirm, question, or overturn the original case.

  • Any U.S. federal or state case can be Shepardized in Nexis Uni
  • Links to Summary, prior history, subsequent history, treatment, and law review references.
  • After finding a case record click on "Shepardize this Document" on the right or click on the target symbol next to the name.

Shepardize example


Signal Indicators

When you retrieve cases in Nexis Uni, the case will have one of seven possible Signal Indicators (icon) right before the title. The icon indicates how citing cases refer to the case. 

Nexis Uni: Search From the Home Page Tutorial

Nexis Uni Advanced Search Tutorial

Practice: Finding and Reading Cases

Use Nexis Uni to find the full-text of one Supreme Court decision that has shaped our rights.

Don't have a case in mind for your project yet? Use one of these sites to identify a case to practice with:


Once you've found the case, skim the decision and respond to the following questions:

  • What are the basic facts of the case you selected (the who, what, when, and where)?
  • What are the key legal points addressed in this case? (In other words, what's the "big picture" or takeaway?)
  • What was the Court's decision? What legal rationale did the justices rely upon to reach their decision? Are there concurring and/or dissenting opinions?
  • To expand on the basic information you have gained, are there other terms or concepts you would like to research? What additional context do you need to understand the Court's decision? 

Feeling overwhelmed? This article from the American Bar Association provides some tips for how to read a U.S. Supreme Court opinion.