Legal Research

Federal Law Resources

Below you'll find ways to search or browse the three main sources of federal law: the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations.

Types of Federal Law

Resources

U.S. Constitution:

Here are three ways to look through the Constitution, courtesy of the Library of Congress:

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U.S. Code

The U.S. Code is made up of laws passed by the U.S. Congress. Below are some external resources for finding sections of the U.S. Code.

Search the U.S. Code by Title and Section:

If you already know which Title and Section of the U.S. Code you want to retrieve, fill in the following boxes. (Example: If you are looking for 42 USC 1395, fill in Title 42, Section 1395)

Search the U.S. Code by entering relevant terms:

You may also find these links helpful:

Go to Thomas to find bills that have not yet become laws and recent laws (called "Public Laws") that have been approved by Congress and signed by the President, but are not yet included in the U.S. Code. Thomas includes the text of all versions of House and Senate bills and the Congressional Record (the "minutes" of Congressional hearings).

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Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Federal Regulations are rules made by federal agencies and executive departments. Below are some external resources for finding Federal Regulations.

Search the Code of Federal Regulations by entering relevant terms:

Search the CFR by Title, Part, and either Section or Subpart:

If you already know which Section or Subpart of the CFR you want to retrieve, fill in the following boxes. Choose a revision year (you probably want to leave the scroll box at "Most Recent Available") and then add the CFR Title and Part. In addition, you must fill in EITHER a Section number or a Subpart letter, but not both.

Example: If you are looking for 42 CFR 413.1, fill in Title 42, Part 413, Section 1; if you are looking for the entire Subpart A of 42 CFR 413, fill in Title 42, Part 413, Subpart A.

You may also find these links helpful:

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Federal Register

Go to the Federal Register http://www.federalregister.gov/ to find rules that have not yet been added to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and/or finalized by federal agencies or executive departments. The Federal Register publishes all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices made by federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and Presidential Documents.

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