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United States: legal resources: Federal legislation

Subjects: American Studies, Law

Federal legislation

Federal legislation is published both chronologically and in codified form.  The official codified version is the United States Code which was first published in 1926 and was preceded by the Revised Statutes of the United States.  It should be noted that, unlike the coherent codes of civil law jurisdictions, the United States Code is a collection of separately enacted statutes which have been consolidated into a logical framework.  Although the Code is compiled and published under the authority of Congress, only certain “titles” (the main subdivisions) have been enacted into positive law.  For other titles, the Code is prima facie evidence of the law, but the authoritative text is that found in the individual acts as published in Statutes at Large.

Printed legislation

The Library's extensive holdings of US law include old editions of series of legislation, shelved in the secondary collection, and this is all readily accessible to readers.  For the most part, only more current material is kept in the US collection on Floor 3.  The list below is not exhaustive.

Federal legislation online

OU members may access these materials most conveniently via the subscription databases Fastcase, HeinOnline and Westlaw, but they are also freely available on US government websites (links below).

Secondary legislation

The list below is indicative but not exhaustive.  In particular, electronic resources are not listed here.