How to Cite an Opinion of the Supreme Court in MLA Format

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Writers in the humanities and liberal arts use many resources, including books, CDs and Supreme Court opinions. The seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" provides guidelines for citing such works.

In-Text Citation

When including information from a Supreme Court decision, insert a citation. After the material, put the plaintiff's last name inside parentheses, such as (Marshall).

Works Cited

When mentioning a court case in text, include it on the Works Cited page. Begin with the plaintiff's last name, then put "v." without quotation marks for "versus," the defendant's last name and a period. Insert the case number, a period, then "Supreme Ct. of the US." without quotation marks. Next is the date, month, year the opinion was released and a period. If it is from a website, include its italicized name, a period, the day, month and year you accessed the case, a period and the URL in angle brackets; for example: Marshall v. Rodgers. No. 11–10362. Supreme Ct. of the US. 3 March 2013. Supreme Court of the United States. 2 April 2013. . If it is from a book, put the italicized title, the place you found the case and the date you accessed it after the release date; for instance: Marshall v. Rodgers. No. 11–10362. Supreme Ct. of the US. 3 March 2013. Top Supreme Court Decisions. Best University Law Library. 1 May 2013.


About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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