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Finding Federal Statutes, Regulations, and Related Cases

Using Print Codes

If you already have a citation to a federal statutory code section, you can go right to the text of that section in one of the print versions of the code.

On the spine of each volume of the code, you will be able to see what title(s) and section range(s) are included in that volume. Once you read your code section in the bound volume, check the pocket part or supplement for that volume to see if the code section has been amended. Usually, only the portion of the section that has been revised or added will be included in the pocket part or supplement. Therefore, it may be necessary to go back and forth between the bound volume and the pocket part or supplement to piece together the entire current version of a statutory section.

One reason it is sometimes preferable to look up your code section in print is that you can more readily browse around your section to get a sense of context as well as find other potentially relevant sections. You may also find other related code sections by browsing the table of contents located at the beginning of the chapter containing your section.

Using LexisNexis Academic

From the “Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations” page (which you can link to from the "US Legal" folder on the left side of the LexisNexis Academic home page), you can pull up a specific code section by typing your title and section numbers in the search box and selecting “Citation” in the dropdown box to the right of the search box, as shown in the screen shot below. (Make sure the "Annotated U.S. Code (USCS)" source is chosen in the Select Source(s) box.)

The search shown on the screen below will immediately pull up 29 U.S.C.S. § 623.

The U.S.C.S. source on LexisNexis is updated very frequently. If you click on the “i” icon to the left of the database name in the Select Source(s) box, you will retrieve information about this source, including a “Current through . . . ” note near the top indicating the date of the most recent public law that was added to the database.

Using Publicly Accessible Web Sites

All three of the publicly accessible federal code websites discussed in this guide allow you to use your code citation to pull up a code section. Both the Cornell site and the official FDSys site also allow you to browse the tables of contents for the various titles of the code.

Keep in mind that none of these versions of the code are as up-to-date as the LexisNexis version or even the commercial print versions. However, the Cornell site and the U.S. House of Representatives site do provide update notices to inform you about recent public laws that have affected your code section. The Cornell site also provides links to enable you to quickly access those more recent laws.