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Law and Capitalism in America

This guide provides helpful research resources for the Law and Capitalism in American class.

Overview

A code is a subject arrangement of the laws of a jurisdiction. There are official and unofficial codes. A code may be annotated (containing editorial enhancements to help with research or interpretation) or unannotated. The advantages of using a code for research include:

  1. the fact that codes collate original laws with later amendments,
  2. they bring all laws on the same subject together, and
  3. they eliminate repealed, superseded, or expired laws.

In addition to the statutes, many codes contain constitutions and court rules.

Finding a Code by Citation

Retrieving  a statute by legal citation is the easiest and fastest way to get the specific case to which the citation refers.

Example of a United States Code citation:

42 (title) U.S.C. (Code abbreviation) Section 1983 (2006)

Suppose our citation was for 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 and I wanted to find this statute online:

  • GovInfo.gov:
    • Click the orange Search box
    • Click the Citation tab
    • Select the United States Code as the collection to search
    • Select the year (if not doing historical research, select the most recent), title (42), USC for type, and the section (1983))
  • HeinOnline:
    • Unless you need a historical code, use Govinfo.gov to retrieve a code by citation. It's easier.
  • Nexis Uni:
    • type the 42 u.s.c.s. 1983 in the search box
    • click on the suggestion 42 uscs § 1983
  • Westlaw (law students only):  type the 42 U.S.C.A. 1983 in the search box at the top of the screen.
  • Lexis (law students only):  type the 42 U.S.C.S. 1983 in the search box at the top of the screen.

Code Organization

The structure and organization of statutory codes will vary by jurisdiction. 

Federal

The United States Code, the subject arrangement of federal statutes, is arranged  by subject  into 51 subject titles, with chapter and section subdivisions.  Of the 51 titles, the following titles have been enacted into positive (statutory) law: 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 17, 18, 23, 28, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 46, 49, 51, and 54. When a title of the Code is enacted into positive law, the text of the title becomes legal evidence of the law. Titles that have not been enacted into positive law are only prima facie evidence of the law. In that case, the Statutes at Large still govern.

When looking at a code section, you will see the text of the section, then historical notes, the Statutes at Large citation, and references to related code sections.

State

In Ohio, the statutes are broadly organized by titles (there are 33) and then further broken down by articles, chapters, and sections.  For more information on Ohio codes, see the Ohio Legal Research Guide

State Codes with Subjects:

Some states, such as California, Maryland, New York, and Texas, use subject words for their broader organization. If you look in Table 1 of the Bluebook or Appendix 1 of ALWD under one of those jurisdictions, they will give you the subject break downs. You actually include those subjects in your citation.

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