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Finding the Law: Cases, Statutes, Regulations and Constitutions Ann Hemmens University of Washington Law Library Legal, Ethical and Social Issues in Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Finding the Law: Cases, Statutes, Regulations and Constitutions Ann Hemmens University of Washington Law Library Legal, Ethical and Social Issues in Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Finding the Law: Cases, Statutes, Regulations and Constitutions Ann Hemmens University of Washington Law Library Legal, Ethical and Social Issues in Public Health Genetics (Professor Mastroianni, PHG 512) October 16, 2006

2 Primary & Secondary Authority Primary Statement of "the law" from bodies with law-making authority Secondary Explain, interpret, and help you locate the primary law Includes: Treatises, Hornbooks, law review articles, legal encyclopedias, Restatements, Nutshells etc.

3 Organization of Federal & State Governments Constitution Legislative Statutes Stat., USC RCW Judicial Cases US, Fed 3d P3d, Wash. Executive Regulations Administrative Decisions FR, CFR WAC

4 How do Sources of Law Interact? Court interprets a statute An earlier court decision is overruled by same court Statute held unconstitutional by a court Legislature writes statute in response to a case Agency proposes new rule in response to statute.

5 Legal Research Questions What type of law might govern this issue? statutes? regulations? cases? Which jurisdiction? federal or state or both? Did you update your research?

6 Court Structure – Federal & State FederalState Court of Last Resort U.S. Supreme Court WA Supreme Court Intermediate Appellate Court ↑ Ninth Circuit* Ninth Circuit* Court of Appeals * = Circuit map WA Court of Appeals Trial Court ↑ U.S. District Court for Western District of WA King County Superior Court

7 Legal Citation The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (KF245.U5 2005 18th ed. in Reference Area) Cases Pate v. Threlkel, 661 So.2d 278 (Fla. 1995) Pate v. Threlkel Party 1 v. Party 2, [volume number] [reporter name] [page number] ([jurisdiction sometimes] [year]).

8 Finding Cases 1. Digests a. Subject Index to federal and state cases b. Organized by Topic and Key Numbers (sub-topics). c. Examples: Federal Practice Digest, Pacific Digest.Federal Practice Digest 2. American Law Reports (ALR) and secondary sources (law review articles) a. In-depth articles analyzing unique legal topics & cases. b. Marjorie A. Shields, Annotation, Liability for Conversion and Misappropriation of Genetic Material, 121 A.L.R.5th 315 (2004).121 A.L.R.5th 315 a. Citation Format: Vol. -- Series – Page c. Law Review: Edward J. Janger, 3 Genetic Information, Privacy and Insolvency, 33 J.L. Med. & Ethics 79 (2005). 3. LexisNexis Academic (from UW Libraries LAW webpage) LexisNexis Academic


10 Available from UW Libraries LAW Subject webpage Contains Federal & State cases, statutes, regulations Law review articles

11 Statutes Organized chronologically Organized chronologically Called: Session laws Called: Session laws U.S. Statutes at Large (Stat.) U.S. Statutes at Large (Stat.) Laws of Washington Laws of Washington Organized by subject Organized by subject Called: A Code Called: A Code U.S. Code (USC) U.S. Code (USC) Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Revised Code of Washington (RCW)

12 Legal Citation Formats Public Law Pub.L. No. 107-56 Statutes at Large 115 Stat. 276 Codes 42 U.S.C. § § 9601-9675 (2004) Title – United States Code – Sections – (year) RCW 46.20.308 (2006) Revised Code of Washington Title – Chapter – Section

13 Image of Public Law Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-191.Pub. L. No. 104-191

14 Annotated Codes Commercially-published Text of the law & history Annotations = citations to cases, regulations, law review articles, encyclopedias, forms Updated promptly United States Code Annotated (USCA) United States Code Service (USCS)* * Available on LexisNexis Academic & LexisNexis Congressional

15 Finding Statutes Popular Names Table Available from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute ( or in TABLES volumes of USCS and USCS. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-336, July 26, 1990, 104 Stat. 327 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.) USCS or USCA Index Cases Secondary sources (law review articles etc.)

16 Finding Statutes - online LexisNexis Congressional and Academic LexisNexis Thomas ( Washington State Legislature RCW Search webpage (

17 Constitutions The fundamental law of a nation or state, establishing the organization of government and prescribing the extent of its’ sovereign power. Citation Format U.S. CONST. art. I, § 9. W.A. CONST. art. IV, § 4.

18 Constitutions in Annotated Codes Federal United States Code Annotated (USCA) United States Code Service (USCS) [on LexisNexis Academic & LexisNexis Congressional] State Revised Code of Washington (RCW) All 50 state statutes on LexisNexis Academic Cornell’s LII,

19 Administrative Law Rules, regulations, and decisions created by administrative agencies (federal and state). Agency is authorized by Statute Power to issue regulations & adjudicate disputes delegated to executive agencies by Congress via an enabling statute. Procedural Standards? Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 USC §551 et seq.). Agency publishes Notice of proposed rule Comment period Agency publishes Final rule & response to comments

20 Regulations Federal Register Published daily Includes: proposed regs & new regs Presidential documents Executive Orders & Proclamations Code of Federal Regulations Current rules & regulations in force Published annually Index & finding tables CFR Index (a volume in the USCS set)

21 Citation Format: Regulations 65 Fed. Reg. 3415 (Jan. 21, 2000) Volume – Federal Register – Page (date) 7 CFR § 319.76 (2003) Title–Code of Federal Regulations–Section (year)

22 Sample Regulation 42 CFR Part 121

23 Finding Regulations on Your Topic Code of Federal Regulations Index (at end of CFR set & in a USCS volume) Federal Register Index & “Unified Agenda” (Oct. & Nov.) West's Code of Federal Regulations: General Index Annotated Codes United States Code Annotated (USCA) United States Code Service (USCS) Secondary Sources (law review articles, ALR)

24 Regulations Online LexisNexis Academic and Congressional LexisNexis GPO Access, E-CFR, Washington State Regulations Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Washington State Register (updates the WAC) Both available from WA Legislature (

25 Secondary Sources Law Review Articles Full-Text on LexisNexis AcademicLexisNexis Academic Index to find articles, LegalTracLegalTrac American Law Reports (ALR) KF 132 in Reference Area. Index at end of set. American Law Reports Books Law Library Catalog UW Libraries Catalog SUMMIT (both of above plus more!) SUMMIT

26 Update Your Research Cases – use online citator (Keycite available in Law Library ) Statutes – check pocket parts & supplements (print) Regulations – use List of Sections Affected (LSA) & Federal Register (print)

27 Conclusion Cases, Statutes, Regulations (federal and state) & law reviews available: In PRINT at Gallagher Law Library ONLINE through UW Libraries “LAW” subject webpage Email Reference Need Help? Reference Office 543-6794

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