2015 Abigail Ross 1. Legislative Branch. Executive Branch. Judicial Branch. Abigail F. Ellsworth Ross President, RoFinCo, LLC

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1 Abigail F. Ellsworth Ross President, RoFinCo, LLC Overview of U.S Legal System Legislative Executive Judicial Sources of Basic Documents Legislature: Laws Agencies: Regulations Courts: Cases How to Research US Law Legislative Branch US Congress (House & Senate) Executive Branch President & Regulatory Agencies Judicial Branch Courts 2015 Abigail Ross 1

2 Legislature Elected Representatives House of Representatives Members Senate Senators Primary legislative sources Bills, committee reports, enacted laws Secondary legislative sources Bill-tracking, newsletters, treatises Congressional Record See notes for discussion of quick description of bill-making process 2004 West 2015 Abigail Ross 2

3 THOMAS Library of Congress - FREE Offices and Members of Congress OpenCongress US Senate - FREE US House of Representatives - FREE Office of the Clerk, US House of Reps - FREE Congressional Research Service Law Library Research Xchange (LLRX) - FREE Abigail Ross 3

4 THOMAS Library of Congress - FREE Bill summaries, Congressional Record, committee reports, treaties, public laws, etc. GPO (Government Printing Office) FREE Statutes At Large- (Office of the Federal Register, NARA)- FREE de=statute USCCAN PAY LLSDC Legislative Source Book - FREE GPO Access FREE tioncode=uscode Vendors - PAY Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg/BNA, Lois Law, etc. Print edition = official edition President Cabinet Executive Agencies such as: U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Department of State U.S. Department of Defense U.S. Department of the Treasury 2015 Abigail Ross 4

5 Code of Federal Regulations FREE ectioncode=cfr Federal Register - FREE tioncode=fr The President - FREE Executive Agencies FREE 1) The Regulatory Agency looks at changes needed and starts the review process 2) Proposed Regulations are published in the Federal Register (FR) asking for public comment and identifying a contact at the Agency. 3) Once approved, final regulations are published in the Federal Register and incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations. 50 Titles (for now) Printed versions are updated on a staggered basis with roughly 25% being revised each quarter. CFR - FREE ollectioncode=cfr Coming soon: Title 51 (NATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL SPACE PROGRAMS) Any use of the CFR should be carefully updated. LSA (List of Sections Affected) - FREE ectioncode=lsa UA (Unified Agenda) - FREE ectioncode=gpo&browsepath=unified+agenda&iscollapse d=false&leaflevelbrowse=false&ycord= Abigail Ross 5

6 What is it? Administrative opinions can be found: Westlaw/Lexis PAY The agency website - FREE LOC Administrative Law Guide FREE - php Federal Courts: The United States Supreme Court U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal (13) Federal District Courts Specialized Federal Courts (e.g. U.S. Ct. of International Trade; U.S. Tax Court; U.S. Court of Federal Claims) 2015 Abigail Ross 6

7 Taken from: Judiciary Federal courts Path of appeals Fed. District Court U.S. Court of Appeals U.S. Supreme Court State courts Trial level Intermediate Appellate State Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Supreme Court Equal Justice Under Law. 9 Justices Chief Justice John G. Roberts Associate Judges: Antonin Scalia Anthony Kennedy Clarence Thomas Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen G. Breyer Sonia Sotomayor Elena Kagan 2015 Abigail Ross 7

8 Current awareness for the Supreme Court: Supreme Court - FREE SCOTUSBlog - FREE Georgetown Law Library - FREE https://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/ supreme_court.cfm Cornell Legal Information Institute - FREE https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/home Federal Judicial Center - FREE Judges of the United States biographies of all judges who have served on US Federal courts since Federal Judiciary Homepage - FREE Everything you need to know about the Judiciary: links to courts, and the Federal Judicial Center, which provides information on judges, links to their annual reports, caseload statistics, etc. Almanac of the Federal Judiciary - PAY Court Rules, Forms & Dockets Pathfinder - FREE Dockets History of everything filed with a court in a particular case Docket Number Usually some variation of year, civil or criminal, number of case Pacer/Courtlink/West Dockets - PAY 2015 Abigail Ross 8

9 Case Citations Bluebook Reporters A reference to a court s opinion in a case that is published in a Reporter. Federal case law reporters published by West Group include: SCt (Supreme Court Reporter) F3d (Federal Reporter, 3 rd Series) FSupp (Federal Supplement) State cases are published in the West Regional Reporter System, including the following: A2d (Atlantic Reporter 2 nd series) NW2d (Northwest Reporter 2 nd series) NE2d (Northeast Reporter 2 nd series) SE2d (Southeast Reporter 2 nd series) SW2d (Southwest Reporter 2 nd series) P2d (Pacific Reporter 2 nd series) Editorial Enhancements 2015 Abigail Ross 9

10 Title (parties names): Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153 (1999) Volume: Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153 (1999) Reporter: Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153 (1999) Page: Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153 (1999) Year: Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153 (1999) A parallel cite is another place in a different reporter to find the same case: Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153, 42 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 504 Westlaw & Lexis Citation Formats 1994 WL or 1997 US Lexis App 4543 A Pinpoint citation will direct you to a particular page within a case: 997 S.W.2d 153, Abigail Ross 10

11 Updating Cases Appeals History/Treatment - There are many different history terms that can be used: reversed; remanded; affirmed; overruled; many more... Mid-Century Ins. Co. v. Lindsey, 997 S.W.2d 153, 42 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 504, Distinguished by Martin Marietta Materials v. St. Paul Guardian Ins., 145 F.Supp 2d 794 Updating Caselaw Shepard s or KeyCite Finding Opinions: Westlaw, Lexis PAY Published opinions; many unpublished opinions VerdictSearch - - PAY Many cases settle before a judge writes an opinion between 60-80% HeinOnline (subscription service) - PAY Offers full text PDFs of a long list of law reviews and journals, along with a treaties library (UST and TIAS), US attorney general opinions, and US Supreme Court opinions Lexis, Westlaw, CCH, Bloomberg/BNA, Fastcase and Lois Law - PAY 2015 Abigail Ross 11

12 Treatise Exhaustive work on topic area Encyclopedias Cover all areas of law - AmJur / CJS American Law Reports - ALR Ongoing collection of articles analyzing caselaw for a particular subject Generally, the federal hierarchy is duplicated on the state and municipal levels List of State Codes - https://www.law.cornell.edu/statutes.html Municipal codes/ordinances - https://www.municode.com/library/ - FREE and PAY Find a Lawyer: Martindale-Hubbell - FREE FindLaw - FREE Firm or Organization website - FREE 2015 Abigail Ross 12

13 Listservs When in doubt, call the Clerk of the Court Be willing to trade County Law Libraries Black s Law Dictionary - PAY tdetail.aspx Federal Depository Libraries FREE Government Printing Office - - FREE Law Library Research Xchange - - FREE Zimmerman s Research Guide - FREE What type of questions can a Law Librarian answer? Why is it illegal to answer casespecific questions? How do we stay current? 2015 Abigail Ross 13

14 Abigail F. Ellsworth Ross 2015 Abigail Ross 14

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