Module 4 : Constitution, Statutes : CALI Lessons

CALI Codification

CALI Finding Statutes

CALI How to Research Federal Legislative History

  1. CALI Codification 
    1. Citation:  To find to a statute you need to know both the TITLE and SECTION.  For example,  the citation 40 U.S.C. 951 provides you both the title (40) and the section (951) to the United States Code. However, Internal Revenue Code, sec. 325(b)(1) does not give you enough information.  You know the section (325(b)(1) but you do not know the title.  You will need to find out that the IRS title is Title 26 of the United States Code.   You have enough information with 32 USCS 8001.  You have the Title which is 32 and the section which is 8001.  You may wonder what is USCS.  It stands for United States Code Annotated which is the title for the Lexis Annotated Statutes.  USCA stands for the United States Code Annotated which is the title for Westlaw’s statutes.
    2. What is a code?  All the current laws grouped by topic.  Generally, the laws called statutes.
    3. What are session laws?  All of the laws passed in the  legislature in the same year arranged  in chronological order.  It is the text of the law as originally passed.  For example, you may hear attorneys refer to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.  They are talking about a specific title in the session law, Education Amendments Act of 1972.  You can find Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 in 42 U.S.C. sections 1681-1688.  Generally, the session laws are called Acts.
  2. CALI Finding the Statutes  
    1. Indexes are extremely useful in finding statutes.  You can find a separate index volumes in the print statutes and you can find them online in Westlaw Edge.  Here is the link to the Index for the Florida Statutes  copy  and paste  Then look at adoption.
      1. Westlaw – Index for Florida Statutes
      2. Many times when you use an index you will find the appropriate statute in a shorter period of time than when you either use a natural language search or a terms, connector, and expander search.
      3. You never know what terms will be used in a statute (homicide, murder, unlawful killing?) so looking in a subject index saves LOTS of time.
      4. The index often provides you a “road map” of the statutes in a specific area. You find all sections on a topic in one place
      5. Usually the best place to start statutory research!

3. How to Research Federal Legislative History 

1. Hearings before house or senate committees may include both        the transcripts of the oral testimony and the written testimony of the witnesses.

2.  Possible Legislative History Documents include bills, floor debates, hearing materials, and Committee Reports. The most important statements during debates are form the chairperson of the congressional committee that considered the bill and from the sponsor of the bill.