Federal & State Resources
United States Constitution - Presented by the Cornell Legal Information Institute.
United States Constitution - Current & historical texts from the Law Library of Congress.
An annotated version of the United States Constitution can be found in United States Code Annotated published by West or the United States Code Service published by Lexis.
When Congress passes a law, the law is given a public law number if it affects society as a whole. A private law number is given if the law affects an individual, family, or small group. Most laws that are passed are public laws. Example: P.L. 112-194 denotes the 194th public law passed by the 112th Congress. Public and private laws are first printed as slip laws (individual copies of each law) and then published in chronological order in the United States Statutes at Large. Eventually all public laws are codified by subject matter in the United States Code. When conducting research, it is advisable to use an annotated code, e.g., United States Code Annotated, because it references other relevant statutes, regulations, cases, legislative documents and secondary sources.
Public and Private Laws:
United States Statutes at Large: This is the official version of the federal session laws. Each volume (published in several parts) contains the enacted public and private laws for one Congressional session. Laws are arranged in chronological order.
HeinOnline – U.S. Statutes at Large collection. 1789 to two years ago, but HeinOnline provides a link to govinfo containing public laws that have not yet been published in the U.S. Statutes at Large. PDF. Also includes earlier Federal Codes and Compilations of Statutes.
Westlaw Edge – 1789 – 1972 - Historical enactments passed during past sessions of Congress and Presidential Proclamations, beginning with the first session of First Congress through the second session of the 92nd Congress in PDF format. The Westlaw search query will search the citation or by date.
Law Library of Congress - http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsl.html - The eighteen volumes from the Law Library of Congress cover the public and private laws of the first forty-three Congresses 1789-1875. Information can be browsed or searched by keyword. Actual, quick loading images of the pages are available.
United States Code: The U.S. Code (USC) is the official codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 51 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Code was first published in 1926. This version of the Code does not contain annotations to cases or other sources.
govinfo – United States Code - From 1990s to date. (PDF). There may be a one or two year time lag with this version on FDsys. To update a code section, use the United States Code Classification Tables that is available as a link in the left on the USC web page on FDsys. This table will show where recently enacted laws will appear in the United States Code and which sections of the Code have been amended by those laws. The tables are sorted in either Public Law order or Code section order and only include those provisions of law that have been classified to the Code. If you search the classification table for a code section and find that a later public law has affected it, you must search a separate public laws database, e.g., Public Laws on govinfoFDsys, to retrieve the full text of the law.
HeinOnline – The United States Code collection includes complete coverage of the United States Code dating back to inception in 1925-1926. Also includes the Early Federal Laws Collection, which represents the most complete collection of federal statute compilations prior to the US Code.
Westlaw - United States Code Annotated (West) - this version of the Code also includes the U.S. Constitution and several sets of court rules, such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Includes annotations. Available on WestlawNext with archived editions back to 1990.
Lexis Advance - United States Code Service (Lexis) - Like the U.S.C.A. published by West, the U.S.C.S. published by Lexis also contains federal statutes, the Constitution, and procedural rules. Includes annotations. Available on Lexis Advance. Note: Missing Code Sections: If you have a citation for a code section that seems to be "missing," check the "Revised Titles" section at the end of the USCS to see if it has been renumbered.
A comprehensive research guide on the publication of federal statutes is available from Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) at http://www.llsdc.org/us-code-and-statutes - Includes United States Statutes at Large and the United States Code: Historical Outline, Notes, Lists, Tables, and Sources.
Overview of the legislative process is available on Congress.gov.
Citators on Shepard’s and KeyCite – use citators to determine if the code section remains valid, and to locate cases and secondary sources citing the statute.
Federal Legislative History:
Formerly known as THOMAS, this website contains the full text of bills and resolutions from 1989 (101st Congress) to the current Congress; bill summaries and status for legislation introduced from 1973 (93rd Congress).
govinfo - Contains all published versions of bills in PDF and full text from 1993 (103rd Congress), and the “History of Bills and Resolutions” section of the Congressional Record Index from 1983 (98th Congress).
Contains the full text of bills from 1989 (101st Congress) and selected earlier materials from 1983 (98th Congress). A full subscription to ProQuest Congressional includes the full text digital collection of all U.S. bills and resolutions from the first Congress in 1789 to the current Congress.
Westlaw Edge Contains bill texts and resolutions introduced in the current session of Congress and historical bills from 1995 (104th Congress).
A Century of Lawmaking: Historical
Contains bills and resolutions for selected sessions of Congress, beginning with the 6th Congress in the House of Representatives, the 16th Congress in the Senate, and the 18th Congress for Senate Joint Resolutions.
U.S. Serial Set - - historical - Bills and resolutions begin in the House with the 15th Congress (1817) and in the Senate with the 30th Congress (1847). For these bills, the researcher may consult the bill's number in the index of the appropriate Journal (House or Senate) to determine the ultimate fate of the proposed legislation. Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. Note: Only a small selection of documents are available at this time.
Contains select House and Senate hearings from 1985 (99th Congress) forward.
ProQuest Congressional: (basic subscription)
Contains selected testimony transcripts from 1988, and published hearing abstracts and indexing from 1970. A full subscription to ProQuest Congressional includes a digital collection of hearings (published and unpublished) from 1823 to present.
Contains committee hearings from 71st Congress (1927) through the 112th Congress (2011) in the U.S. Congressional Documents Library.
Contains selected transcripts of testimony in the CONGTMY database from 11/2004.
Law Library of Congress
A collaborative pilot project between the Law Library of Congress and Google, Inc. and which began in 2011. It provides a digital collection of Congressional hearings in PDF. Included on the website are hearings regarding the U.S. Census, Freedom of Information/Privacy, and Immigration. CIS Annual Index - index to hearings from 1970 forward with access to the CIS microfiche collection. HISTORICAL INFORMATION - PRIOR TO 1969 - CIS U.S.
Congressional Hearings Index - published in eight parts, starting with the 23rd Congress in 1833 through 1969. The Index provides subject access and an index by bill number. CIS Inc., provides a microfiche collection to these pre-1969 hearings; however, note that the "volume number" on the microfiche set may be the CIS accession number. Mfiche drawer 2996 third floor library. (To retrieve the catalog record for this set, enter mfiche 2996 as the local call no.)
Congressional Hearings from Law Library of Congress - digitized collection of select hearings in PDF format freely available to the public. Collection continues to expand.
House, Senate, Conference Committee Reports; House and Senate Documents:
Formerly known as THOMAS, this website contains House, Senate, and conference reports from 1995 (104th Congress) in PDF.
Contains House, Senate, conference and executive reports from 1995 (104th Congress) in PDF.
ProQuest Congressional: (basic subscription)
Contains selected full text House and Senate Committee Reports from 1990, and selected full text House and Senate Documents from 1995.
Contains all congressional committee reports, including reports on bills that did not become law, from 1990. Also sets out the legislative history of public laws as reprinted in U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN), from 1948 through 1989, as well as the legislative history of securities laws beginning with 1933.
A Century of Lawmaking: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwss.html - Historical
Contains the U.S. Serial Set with full-text of selected House and Senate documents and reports beginning with the 23rd Congress (1833–35) through the 64th Congress (1915–17). Bills and resolutions begin in the House with the 15th Congress (1817) and in the Senate with the 30th Congress (1847). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwsp.html.
HISTORICAL INFORMATION - PRIOR TO 1969 - see below:
1789 - 1857 1947 - 1969 The Law Library contains documents and reports from the United States Congressional Serial Set beginning with the 15th Congress (1789) through the 34th Congress (1857). The collection picks up with the 80th Congress (1947) through the 91st Congress (1969) in Microfiche Drawer 2995. Note that the fiche may be accessed by a "volume number" which is the CIS accession number. (To access the catalog record though the law library catalog, enter mfiche 2995 as the local call no.) 1833 - 1917 The Library of Congress contains selected House and Senate documents as well as House and Senate reports from the United States Congressional Serial Set. The website begins with the 23rd Congress (1833-1835) and continues through the 64th Congress (1915-1917). Select "Browse" in left frame. Prior to 1817 Selected documents prior to 1817 may be found in the American State Papers.
Contains committee prints from 1991 (102nd Congress) in PDF and full text; some prints can also be found on web pages maintained by individual House and Senate committees.
ProQuest Congressional: (basic subscription)
Contains committee prints from 1993 (103rd Congress) through 2004.
Open CRS: http://www.opencrs.com/
Contains reports, including congressional committee prints, from the Congressional Research Service, that previously were distributed only to members of Congress.
Congressional Record — Floor Debates:
Formerly called THOMAS, this website contains the daily Congressional Record from 1989 (101st Congress) forward. Search by keyword, member of Congress, section, date or session, and index subject.
Contains the daily Congressional Record from 1994 (103rd Congress) forward, and Congressional Record volumes from 140 (1994) to the present. The current year's Congressional Record database is usually updated daily by 11 a.m. Contains the Bound Permanent Congressional Record from 1999- 2001 in PDF.
HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents Library contains the daily edition of the Congressional Record from 1990 (101st Congress) in PDF, its predecessors in PDF from 1789–1913, and the bound official edition from 1873 - 2006. There is also a "Congressional Record Daily Edition Locator" to the permanent bound version of the Congressional Record from Jan 25, 1994.
ProQuest Congressional: (basic subscription)
Contains Congressional Daily Record from 1985 (99th Congress) forward; updated daily when Congress is in session.
Congressional Record — Floor Debates — Historical:
A Century of Lawmaking: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwcr.html.
This collection from the Library of Congress includes The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (1789-1824), the Register of Debates in Congress (1824-1837), and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873).
Contains the Annals of Congress, the Register of Debates, and the Congressional Globe in HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents Library.
Subscription to ProQuest’s Congressional Record Permanent Digital Collection includes the Congressional Record (1873-to date), the Annals of Congress (1789-1824), the Register of Debates (1824-1837), and the Congressional Globe (1833-1873).
Presidential Documents and Signing Statements:
Contains the Federal Register from 1994, the Daily Compilation and its predecessor, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, from 1993, and Public Papers of the President (presidential documents and photographic portfolios) from 1991 in PDF.
Contains Presidential signing statements reprinted in USCCAN from 1986, and executive orders from 1936 and other documents from 1984 in the Presidential Documents database.
HeinOnline: (subscription - U.S Presidential Library)
The American Presidency Project: http://www.presidency.uscb.edu/signingstatement.php
Additional Sources of Legislative Information
Graphical Statutes on Westlaw Edge and Lexis Advance — integrated source for legislative history documents.
Contains a Federal Legislative History Library that includes the legislative histories of significant pieces of United States legislation. Hein also publishes an online edition of Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories.
Contains legislative histories of significant pieces of United States legislation compiled by the Arnold & Porter law firm.
Congressional Research Service (CRS Reports):
The University of Texas Libraries provides an integrated, searchable source to many of the full-text CRS reports that have been available at a variety of different web sites since 1990. Searchable by keyword, title, author, subject and report number, or browse by subject. The Federation of American Scientists http://Fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html also contain reports. The Open CRS Network: http://www.opencrs.com/ also provides convenient access to select CRS reports. ProQuest Congressional (subscription) has an index and selected CRS Reports in PDF from 1916 to present.
Federal Administrative Procedure Act: 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq. establishes the basic procedural standards for federal agencies.
Federal Register – official daily publication of proposed and final rules and regulations.
Code of Federal Regulations – official compilation of rules and regulations arranged by subject.
govinfo: CFR collection includes a link (left frame ) to the e-CFR that updates the CFR collection within the last 2 – 3 days.
(Note: CFR updates on BL, LA, or WL, are not as current as e-CFR on FDsys)
Shepard's or Key Cite will find cases and secondary sources that cite the regulation.
Approximately 16 federal agencies publish their decisions in court reporter form, and there is no one source where all administrative decisions are published. Some agencies publish their decisions on their web sites; others are available in commercial databases or looseleaf services.
HeinOnline – PDF of many official sources in U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions and Appeals.
Lexis Advance - varies
Westlaw Edge - varies
University of Virginia – www.lib.virginia.edu/govdocs/fed_decisions_agency.html - list of available agency materials, including decisions.
LLMC Digital – PDF of agency decisions; dates of available collections vary.
ProQuest Congressional – includes agency decisions and other materials dating from 1789 to 1932.
United States Government Manual on govinfo (1995 - current) - This annually published official handbook of the U.S. government provides information on agencies, boards, commissions, and selected international organizations.
Library of Congress Administrative Guide - http://www.loc.gov/law/help/administrative.php
Unified Agenda - Also known as the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, the Unified Agenda is published twice a year in the Federal Register. It summarizes the rules and proposed rules that each Federal agency expects to issue during the next six months.
U.S. Supreme Court
Official Supreme Court Website Decisions - The Supreme Court's home page contains recent opinions, oral arguments, and merit briefs. Opinions from bound volumes since 1991 are available in PDF. The Court's website includes calendars of oral arguments, court rules, bar admission forms, and information about cases on the Court's docket. The Supreme Court hotline for opinion announcements is available at 202-479-3360.
Supreme Court decisions from 1893 are available on Findlaw. Browse by volume or year, retrieve by citation, or search for party names or key words.
Preview - Supreme Court Preview from the American Bar Association includes an analysis of the issues, arguments, background and significance of every case slated for oral argument in the Supreme Court. Also includes briefs for the current term. NOTE: There is a subscription fee to get all of the cases.
Preview - In 2004, the Cornell LII added a preview service which explores cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. See also the Cornell Chronicle article on the new project.
SCOTUSblog - published by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, this blog provides commentary on cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court as well as recent decisions. This site also provides links to briefs, transcripts, opinions and dockets. RSS feeds, automatically alerting you to new posts, are available; also includes and Annual Report of Supreme Court Statistics.
Supreme Court Briefs from 1870 are on Westlaw.
U.S. Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals Decisions - This page from the Cornell Legal Information Institute provides links to databases of available opinions from all federal circuit courts of appeal.
Justia US Law - You can search U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions by citation in Federal Reporter 2d or Federal Reporter 3d. You can also search appellate decisions by circuit or by year.
U.S. Courts - Federal Judiciary Home Page - Official news and information about United States federal courts. Directories of local court web pages, employment opportunities, official publications, and additional links. Presented by the Federal Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Includes a clickable map to the cirucuit courts.
U.S. District & Bankruptcy Courts
Justia US Law - U.S. Federal District Court Cases. You can search by citation in the Bankruptcy Reporter, Federal Supplement and Federal Supplement Second. You can also search by state, court or year.
FreeCourtDockets - FreeCourtDockets is a new, free service which allows anyone to retrieve federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy court dockets. The site is the product of Courtport LLC, but is ad-sponsored. No PACER account is required to view the dockets, but if you wish to view the filings for a case, a PACER account is needed. To retrieve all court dockets except U.S. Supreme cases, you must first obtain an invitation code. To request a free code, you'll need to complete a form on the FreeCourtDockets website.
Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets - Free public access to recently filed U.S. District Court civil cases from Justia.com. Search by party name, jurisdiction, type of lawsuit, and date range. There is a link to the docket via paid PACER subscription. Links to blog, news, and web searches for each party name are also available. RSS feeds are also available for search results i.e., if you want to monitor all federal district court cases litigated on IP law since a particular date, you can subscribe to that feed.
PACER - Most recent federal court documents are available via the PACER system. Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts. However, users must pay a fee to access PACER - much to the consternation of those who believe that government information should be free. Free public access to PACER is currently provided in Federal courthouses (see the clerk of courts).
RECAP - While RECAP isn't technically a tool for locating court documents, it is a useful PACER add-on for Firefox users. Essentially what RECAP does is archive the documents that you view in PACER and then make them available to other RECAP users at no charge. For a glimpse of RECAP in action, watch the short video available on their website. See the features page for more information
U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts - Presented by Cornell Legal Information Institute.
U.S. District Courts on Justia US Law - Presented by the Federal Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Federal Court Rules
Federal Court Rules on the U.S. Courts Federal Judiciary website.
Georgia Federal Court Rules on the Web
Court Rules, Forms & Dockets - This site from LLRX.com includes links to over 1,400 sources for state and federal court rules, forms and dockets.
Other Federal Local Rules - Links to many federal district courts with on-line local rules.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Georgia - Local Bankruptcy Rules
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Georgia - Local Bankruptcy Rules
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia - Local Rules
Executive Orders & Presidential Documents
Compilation of Presidential Documents on govinfo - The Compilation of Presidential Documents collection consists of the "Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents" and the "Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents" which are the official publications of materials released by the White House Press Secretary. Suggested Citation Form: Daily Comp. Pres. Docs., 2009 DCPD No. 00001, p.3. The citation is to material published in the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents in the year 2009, in the first document, on page three.
Public Papers of the Presidents - From "The American Presidency Project." Coverage begins with Herbert Hoover, 1929 forward. "Messages and Papers of the Presidents from 1789-1913.
Public Papers of the Presidents - Available on HeinOnline in the "U.S. Presidential Library." Coverage begins with George Washington.
Public Papers of the Presidents on Lexis - Contains the full text of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the annually produced Public Papers of the Presidents. Password restricted.
Title 3, The President, of the Code of Federal Regulations - available on govinfo - Title 3, The President, of the Code of Federal Regulations is an official publication of executive orders and presidential proclamations.
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Document - available on HeinOnline - HeinOnline contains the "Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents" from 1965 forward in the Federal Register Library. Available only to Mercer Law School Community.
U.S. Attorney General Opinions
U.S. Attorney General Memoranda and Opinions - Coverage is from 1992 forward. Presented by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
U.S. Attorney General Opinions - Retrospective coverage from HeinOnline. Includes opinions from 1791-1982 and from 1977-1996 and for the year 1877. Available to only the Mercer Law School Community.
Additional Federal Resources
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation - expanding collection of digitized historical U.S. Congressional documents from the Library of Congress.
Federal Judicial Center - The FJC is the education and research organization for the federal courts. This site contains the results of Center research on federal court operations and procedures and court history, as well as selected educational materials produced for judges and court employees.
Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual 2006 - effective November 1, 2006 from the U.S. Sentencing Commission website. The guideline is available in different formats: HTML, PDF, and PDA. It is also available in print in the USCS, Appendix to Title 18, and in the USCA, last volume of Title 18.
Library of Congress: Guides - Includes guides to understanding United States law and links to substantive materials.
The Federal Judges Biographical Database - The Federal Judges Biographical Database contains the service record of all judges who have served on the U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the Supreme Court since 1789.
U.S. Department of Justice - Legal Briefs.
50 State Surveys
50 State Regulation Survey - Westlaw - provides comparative surveys of state regulations covering controversial topics of law. In addition to the REGSURVEYS database, the survey are accessible from the 50 State Surveys tab. The 50 State Regulatory Surveys are also linked from specific regulations that are cited in a survey. Password restricted. Subject Compilation of State Laws: An Annotated Bibliography by Cheryl Rae Nyberg, Reference KF1.F67 - this print source is divided into various legal topics and provides citations to legal publications where multi-state information can be found. National Survey of State Laws, edited by Richard Leiter, KF386.N38 - Published every three years, this print source summarizes the law on various topics for each of the fifty states, including citations to the state's code.
50 State Statute Survey - The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a topical, alphabetical survey of state statutes on biotechnology, criminal justice legislation, eminent domain, health, environmental protection, labor and employment laws, and much more.
50 State Statute Survey - Westlaw - provides comparative surveys of state statutes covering numerous topics. Password restricted.
Additional websites for finding state laws
Law Library of Congress: Guides - Scroll to "U.S. States & Territories.
Cornell Legal Information Institute - State statutes organized by topic.
Cornell Legal Information Institute - Scroll to "Court Opinions > Other States: Opinions" in left frame.
FindLaw - Contains state cases, codes, statutes and regulations.
Municipal Codes - From Municipal Code Corporation. Includes city and county codes where available.
WashLaw: Legal Research on the Web - Provides a comprehensive listing of state courts and other helpful state-related links. Presented by Washburn University Law School.
Page compiled and annotated by Denise Gibson, Assistant Law Librarian for Research Services