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Legal Research


Statutory Law

Statutory laws are those passed by the federal or state Congress (or other legislative body) and signed by the President or Governor.  These resources pertain to all steps of the legislative process, allowing one to track a bill during all steps of its process through the legislature in question. — Searchable database of proposed and passed federal laws

FDsys — The Government Printing Office's new digital system provides acess to sources of information from all three branches of the Federal Government, as well as the capability to search based on date, collection, and further criteria.

How Our Laws Are Made — Complete text of The Honorable Charles W. Johnson's booklet of the same title, about the federal legislative system

The Legislative Process — Information on lawmaking in Maryland

Administrative Law

The two major categories of administrative law are:

  1. Laws made by Congress giving power to federal agencies (FCC, FDA, EPA, etc.) and/or establishing rules and procedures these agencies must follow.
  2. The regulations passed by federal agencies. An example of a regulation is a limit on how many newspapers can be owned by a particular company (this would be passed by the FCC). Often, regulations must be made to execute statutory law.

Federal Register — Contains proposed regulations, final regulations, executive orders, presidential proclamations, and meeting notices. All are arranged chronologically
In Print: Gov Docs AE 2.106

Tutorial on Federal Register

Code of Federal Regulations — The CFR codes the regulations that appear in the Federal Register, includes 50 subject titles, and is published annually on a quarterly schedule
In Print: REF KF70.A3

Maryland Register — State equivalent of Federal Register. Published every two weeks

COMAR — Code of Maryland Regulations; compilation of MD agency regulations on subjects such as food stamp eligibility, employee drug testing, etc.; divided into 31 titles

Case Law

Case law is comprised of decisions made by federal or state judges, or by the Supreme Court.

Finding Court Decisions

The Lexis-Nexis Academic database (found through Research Port - access for FSU students and staff only), then the "Legal" tab leads to searches for state, Federal, and Supreme Court decisions; links to Shepard's Citations for further information.

Federal Case Law

United States Supreme Court — The "Opinions" link will give you full text of opinions back to 2007; from this link, the "Case Citation Finder" yields citations of opinions back to 1790; site is browsable, rather than searchable by keywords.

United States Courts of Appeals — Official site, giving locations for each court and other information.

United States District Courts — Official site, giving locations for each court and other information.

State Case Law—Maryland

Court of Special Appeals — Official site; contains full text of opinions back to 1995.

Court of Appeals — Official site; contains full text of opinions back to 1995.

Circuit Courts — Lists the courts in each of Maryland's eight circuits.

Allegany County Circuit Court — Homepage with a wealth of links to practical information and online forms.

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