How to Perform Legal Research on Federal Regulations


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Can you tell the difference between the USC and the CFR?

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  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Securities & Exchange Commission
  • ICC 1887 – 1995 (trains and later trucking industry)
  • This website goes back to 1994
  • FDSys CFR  About  Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules for the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States CodeI am confused about 42 CFR 431.10 which apparently has been revised.The e-CFR has a different version and an effective date of July 15, 20013.The Cornell site has a different version but an effective date of 1-14-2014.A CMS site suggests that the original effective date of 1-14-2014 was pushed back to 7-15-2013 The e-CFR site version has strange numbering in section (c).
  • How to Perform Legal Research on Federal Regulations

    1. 1. Regulations & Administrative Law Heather Simmons
    2. 2. Regulations  Regulations are everywhere, there is no avoiding them    Critical aspect of Legal Research   The first 50 pages of the owners manual of your new car are about seat belts Ladders are covered in warning labels Take Administrative Law Employers complain that new law grads can’t tell the different between a statute and a regulation
    3. 3. Regulations  “Delegated” legislation –  Agencies typically get their power from Congress  Agencies refer to their DELEGATED LEGISLATION by Public Law citation not USC citation  “section 105 of The Act.” Example: section 105 of the act: Pub. L. No. 107-204, § 105 = 15 USC § 7215
    4. 4. Regulations  Alphabet Agencies         CPSC EPA FDA IRS NHTSA NTSB NASA OSHA
    5. 5. Agency Powers  Agency powers reflect the three branches of government     Rulemaking (Legislative) Adjudicatory (Judicial) Enforcement (Executive) Different agencies have different combinations of powers depending on what they need to accomplish
    6. 6. Regulations  The United States Government Manual The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the Federal Government. This special edition of the Federal Register is currently updated to provide comprehensive and authoritative descriptions of the programs and activities of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The Government Manual also includes information about quasi-official agencies, international organizations with U.S. membership, and Federal boards, commissions, and committees.
    7. 7. Regulations  Statutes are enacted, Regulations are promulgated  AUTHORITY   The legislation granting the agency the power to do what it is doing (Delegated Legislation) SOURCE  Citation to the Federal Register where this final regulation first appeared
    8. 8. Org Chart Exercise Statutes & Regulations
    9. 9. 7 CFR Subtitle A (1–1–13 Edition)
    10. 10. The Lifecycle of a Regulation  NOTICE & COMMENT  Hearings & Meetings  Proposed Regulation – invitation to comment  Publication in the Federal Register: Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM)  COMMENT PERIOD CLOSES (DANGER!)  Revised Proposed Regulation – Summary of Comments   Full comments available in the agency’s docket Final Regulation  Published in the Federal Register, and codified in the next edition of the Code of Federal Regulations
    11. 11. The Lifecycle of a Regulation: NPRM Proposed Regulation Final Regulation Comment Period Comment Period Revised Proposed Regulation Legend Notice Comment
    12. 12. Regulations  What is the Federal Register?  The daily publication of the agencies of the Federal Government, it contains:      Notices Proposed Rules* & Comments Final Rules Presidential Documents A Notice of Proposed Rule Making will always list a name and phone number of the person to contact for more information *Warning: Proposed Rules look exactly like Final Rules, except that it says “Proposed Rules” at the top of the page
    13. 13. Daily Publication of the Federal Government
    14. 14.!/FederalRegister
    15. 15. Proposed Regulations: The Federal Register Page: Volume:
    16. 16.
    17. 17. Federal Register Exercise Find today’s Federal Register Look at the Table of Contents Select a proposed regulation When does the comment period close? Locate the link to the .pdf file and open it
    18. 18. Regulations What is the Code of Federal Regulations?  An annual compilation of final Rules arranged into 50 titles roughly corresponding to the US Code  Published on a quarterly schedule      Titles 1-16 Titles 17-27 Titles 28-41 Titles 42-50 January 1 April 1 July 1 October 1 Rules change all the time, so updating is critical   List of Sections Affected (LSA) Check all the way up to this morning’s Federal Register for changes
    19. 19. Code of Federal Regulations  FDSys  CFR  About the Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition).   Only access here is TOC   Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules for the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code Great place to start if you have a citation Select the Year   It’s only February, so there’s no point choosing 20014 Keep clicking on the + and drill down until you see the one you want
    20. 20.
    21. 21. Regulations  eCFR  SIMPLE Search is the only method that searches the FULL TEXT   While every effort has been made to ensure that the e-CFR is accurate, those relying on it for legal research should verify their results against the official editions of the CFR, FEDERAL REGISTER, and List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA), all available online at Of the three online commercial platforms, BloombergLaw has the most up-to-date CFR, but LEXIS and Westlaw do a better job of indicating proposed regulations are pending
    22. 22. Regulations 
    23. 23. Final Regulations: The Code of Federal Regulations  eCFR Table of Contents
    24. 24. Regulations  Updating in PRINT  LIST OF SECTIONS AFFECTED (LSA)   Find the most recent issue – December 2013 Inside the front cover it will tell you about your title  Title 42-50   Changes October 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013 FEDERAL REGISTER  Last issue of each month since June   January 31, 2014 and February 26, 2014 (today) List of Sections Affected during [month]
    25. 25. Regulations  Updating in ONLINE  OR 
    26. 26. Federal Register Exercise Update this Regulation: NHTSA Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 49 C.F.R. § 571.213
    27. 27. Executive Orders The President has authority to make law on matters of government business Executive Orders  Have the force of law – – Truman desegregated the Army in 1948 Ford pardoned Nixon Executive Order 13526- Classified National Security Information Proclamations Law Day, 2013
    28. 28. Legal Citation  Basic Model Volume | Source | Page (Year) Federal Register: Vol. F.R. Page (Month Date, Year) 52 F.R. 49386 (December 31, 1987) Code of Federal Regulations: Title C.F.R. Part (1954) 7 C.F.R. § 800.0 (2013) Classified National Security Information, Executive Order No. 13526 3 C.F.R. § 298 (2009)