United States Statutes and the United States Code: Historical Outlines, Notes, Lists, Tables, and Sources
A Federal Statutory Research Guide
Part of LLSDC's Legislative Source BookThe U.S. Statutes at Large is a chronological arrangement of all laws enacted by Congress.
The U.S. Code is an updated, subject arrangement of all general and permanent U.S. law so enacted.
Historical Outlines, Explanatory Notes, Lists
Basic Overview on How Federal Laws Are Published, Organized and Cited (2006, PDF - 5 p.)
How to Find U.S. Statutes and U.S. Code Citations (1980, 4th. Ed, Office of the Fed. Register, PDF - 12 p.)
Detailed Guide to the United States Code Content and Features (Office of the Law Revision Counsel)
United States Code: Historical Outline and Explanatory Notes (2011, PDF - 6 p.)
Unraveling the Mysteries of the U.S. Code - a Q&A (2009, PDF - 4 p.)
United States Statutes: Historical Outline and Source Notes (2008, PDF - 4 p.)
U.S. Statutes at Large: List of Documents and Information Included (2004, PDF - 1 p.)
Tables from the Law Revision Counsel & Others
United States Code Classification Tables (updates Code by year in public law and code order, including current year)
United States Code: Table V - Proclamations of the President (Proclamation No. to location in U.S.C. notes - See also PDF downloads)
United States Code: Table VI - Reorganization Plans (Reorg. Plan No. to location in U.S.C. notes - See also PDF downloads)
Acts Cited by Popular Name - Tool (PDF) (citations to where that popular name title is found in the U.S. Code which is usually at the beginning of a U.S.C. section (or section note) where most of the rest of the text of the Act can be found)
Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules
Table of Congressional Publication Volumes and Presidential Issuances (Current to 1789 - shows Statute at Large volumes & Congresses when U.S.C. titles enacted)
Electronic Sources for the U.S. Statutes and the U.S. Code
BloombergLaw (subscription service) - Has current U.S. Code as well as 2006 & 2000 editions; U.S. Public Laws/Statutes from 1976; many amended laws from 1933; search capability; and popular name table.
Cornell's Legal Information Institute - U.S. Code and Popular Name Table - Has effective date in January within 1 to 2 years of current date (or less). Can search, browse, cite and link to individual sections. Also has a popular name table that links to many U.S. Code cites with section breakdowns.
Fastcase.com - U.S. Code (subscription service) - Has current U.S. Code - searchable and browseable.
Findlaw - U.S. Code and Popular Name Table - The effective date is shown on the top right of each page which is in January within 1 to 3 years of current date. Can search, browse, cite and link to individual sections. Also has a popular name table. Beware that the notes area of a USC section may be incomplete.
GPO FDsys - U.S. Code and Public and Private Laws (U.S. Government Printing Office) - 1994 to near current. Can search, browse, and link to individual sections. Also has a searchable and browseable Public and Private Laws database that includes PDF files from 1995 of all U.S. statutes. Also has U.S. Statutes at Large (with indices) both as annual compilation PDFs (very large files) and by individual statute from 1951 to 2011.
HeinOnline - U.S. Statutes and Large / Historical Editions of the U.S. Code, a subscription service - has digitized the U.S. Statutes At Large (not word searchable) and all the historical editions the U.S. Code.
Justia.com - U.S. Code, a free service, has annual U.S. Code from 1994 to a near current year
Law Revision Counsel, Office of the - U.S. Code (official compilers and publishers of the U.S. Code in the U.S. House of Representatives - The Code is searchable and downloadable in various formats (ASCII, PDF, XHTML, ZIP) and the most current version is effective (usually in January) within 6 months to 2 years depending on the title. The Counsel has a Popular Name Tool, Statute to Code Table, and Other Tables, and tools.
LexisNexis (subscription) - U.S. Code Service and U.S. Statutes at Large. See also subscription
Library of Congress / HeinOnline U.S. Code 1926 to 1988 editions, Browse volumes and titles, downloadable
Library of Congress - U.S. Statutes at Large and Public Laws via THOMAS service - Covers the years 1789-1873; browseable but not directly searchable; part of Library's American Memory Project. Though THOMAS service on Congress has the text of public laws back to 1989 (enrolled bill version) and information about laws back to 1973.
LoisLaw.com - U.S. Code (subscription service) Has current U.S. Code - searchable and browseable.
The Law.net - U.S. Code (subscription service) - Has current U.S. Code - searchable and browseable.
VersusLaw.com - U.S. Code (subscription service)- Has current U.S. Code - searchable and browseable.
WestlawNext (subscription) - U.S.C.A. and U.S. Statutes by citation - current and past USCA from 1990 and an "effective date" service from 1996. Updates may take a few weeks. Can search or browse. Also has a popular name index from 1789 with breakdown links to USCA cites and public law numbers of recent laws. Has a new U.S. Statutes at Large premium service from 1789 to 1972 (not directly searchable) and U.S. public laws from 1973.
Compiled and maintained by Rick McKinney, Assistant Law Librarian, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, D.C.
Please email your questions or comments to the Legislative SIS.
Last revised October 3, 2015