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Seminar Topical Research Guides

Getting Started

Choosing a Paper Topic Research Guide
This research guide from the Ross-Blakley Law Library is designed for students who are writing a substantive legal research paper and are looking for guidance on how to begin. The guide details sources for help in selecting a paper topic and offers insight in how to check whether your paper will add new information to the field of law.

Conducting a Preemption Check Research Guide
This research guide details the recommended steps for conducting a preemption check, as well as provides information on and links to a variety of resources for conducting a thorough check.


Below is a short list of treatises related to First Amendment issues. You can search for other treatises in the ASU Library collection by searching the library catalog, using subject headings such as: Freedom of information,  Freedom of the press – United States,  Freedom of speech – United States, and Mass media – law and legislation – United States.

The Federal Information Manual: How the Government Collects, Manages, and Discloses Information under FOIA and other Statutes
This American Bar Association book is available in print on the 5th floor of the law library (KF5753.G53 2013).

Newsgathering and the Law   (Lexis login required)
This treatise, available on Lexis, covers media issues such as access to judicial proceedings, access to federal and state government records, journalists’ privilege, and privilege on the Internet.

Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech
This treatise provides in-depth coverage of free speech and free press issues.  It includes history, theory, doctrine, and insights into cases.  This treatise is available on Westlaw and in print in the Law Library.

Case Law

First Amendment cases can be searched using Westlaw’s Federal First Amendment Cases database and Lexis' Federal Constitutional Law Cases database.

Notable First Amendment Court Cases
This website of the American Library Association contains summaries of important First Amendment cases.  Cases are arranged by topic.

FOIA Court Decisions
This Department of Justice web page has summaries of FOIA decisions from federal courts 2009-present.

News and Analysis

Constitutional Law Prof Blog
This blog is edited by two law professors.  It contains commentary on current issues related to Constitutional Law.

The Center for First Amendment Studies  
CFAS provides programs designed to educate students about their First Amendment heritage, its impact on new technologies, and to encourage faculty members to do original research on freedom of expression.

First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – NY Times
This topical page from the New York Times collects news articles about the U.S. government and the First Amendment. ASU students can create a free online New York Times account via this link.

Federal Resources

Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer
This guide to public access to executive branch information is by the Congressional Research Service.

Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act
This resource from the Department of Justice includes a discussion of FOIA requirements and litigation considerations.
This is the federal government’s online request portal that allows members of the public to submit a request for records from any federal agency.

FOIA Reference Guide
This guide gives an overview of the procedures for making a FOIA request to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The FOIA Project
This repository of FOIA lawsuit documents is provided by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

Office of Government Information Services
OGIS is the government entity charged with reviewing FOIA policies and procedures and compliance of federal agencies.

State Resources

Westlaw – 50 State Surveys – State Freedom of Information Acts (Westlaw login required)
This Westlaw document links to state freedom of information statutes. 

Open Government Guide
This guide by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has information on each state’s open records and open meetings laws.