Inside the Supreme Court

Petition to Decision

Papers of Supreme Court Justices on Civil Rights Cases

David Achtenberg

Professor & Law Foundation Scholar

UMKC School of Law

Kansas City, MO 64110-2499


McDonald Home
Brennan Files
Marshall Files
Powell Files
White Files
McDonald v. City of West Branch

Digital Archive


The Blackmun Papers The Brennan Papers The Marshall Papers The Powell Papers
The White Papers


          Coverage:  This page links you to the digital archive of all the available papers of Supreme Court Justices dealing with McDonald v. City of West Branch  Currently, McDonald papers are available for Justices Blackmun, Brennan, Marshall, Powell, and White.   The digital archive presents the papers just as you would find them in the archives where the originals are stored.   


          Alternative Ways to View the Justices' Papers:  Many researchers may prefer to view the papers in chronological (rather than archival) order.  To do so, you should click here to go to the Timeline Page


         Examples of Digital Box and File In the Brennan page of the digital archives, Box 651 File 6 appears as shown below.  At the Library of Congress, Box 651 File 6 of the William J. Brennan Jr. Papers contains twelve documents totaling about 22 pages.  The digital "file" contains the same documents in the order that you would find them if you examined the originals in the Archives. For example, the first document (Justice Brennan's notes prepared before the Court's conference discussing the case) can be accessed by clicking on the "Begins" image number (WJB651F60001).


Box 651 File 6
Brief Description Date Begins Ends
WJB Notes for Conference 02-28-84 WJB651F60001 WJB651F60002
WJB Opinion 1st Draft 03-29-84 WJB651F60003 WJB651F60010
Memo JPS to WJB 03-29-84 WJB651F60011  
Memo LFP to WJB 03-29-84 WJB651F60012  
Memo SDO to WJB 03-29-84 WJB651F60013  
Memo WHR to WJB 03-29-84 WJB651F60014  
Memo WEB to WJB 03-30-84 WJB651F60015  
Memo TM to WJB 03-30-84 WJB651F60016  
Memo HAB to WJB 03-30-84 WJB651F60017  
Memo BRW to WJB 03-30-84 WJB651F60018  
Draft of WJB Syllabus 04-03-84 WJB651F60019 WJB651F60020
Draft of WJB Syllabus 04-16-84 WJB651F60021 WJB651F60022



While the justices have files dedicated to particular cases, they also have files where they kept particular types of document for all the cases decided in a particular term.  For example, Justice Brennan maintained "Docket Files" which contained his hand-written notes on certiorari and merits conferences, i.e., the meetings during which the Court discussed and voted on each case.  Since each of these files contained notes on various cases, the digital version of the file only includes the documents related to McDonald.  For example, the digital "Docket File" below (Box 627 File Number Unknown ) contains Justice Brennan's notes only on the certiorari conference (October 3, 1983) and merits conference (February 29, 1984) at which McDonald was discussed.


Box 627 File Number Unknown
Brief Description Date Begins Ends
WJB Docket Various  WJB627Fxx0001 WJB627Fxx0002
WJB Conference notes 02-29-84 WJB627Fxx0003 WJB627Fxx0004




          Abbreviations:  I have abbreviated the names of the justices, their clerks, and a few other persons.    A key to all abbreviations that can be accessed by clicking the abbreviations button in the yellow navigation area.      


          Higher Resolution Copies:  Most of the documents are presented in comparatively small pdf files which should be adequate for most uses.  Please let me know if you think that any particular image needs to be replaced with a higher resolution version.  I will also be happy to send higher resolution copies (or original JPEGs) of any images to anyone who needs them.  For further information about how the documents were photographed, edited and converted to pdf files, click here to go to the Image Creation and Conversion Protocol Page


          Sources and Citation:  For an explanation of how to determine the original archive location of any document, click here to go to the Document Source Page.