UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA LAW LIBRARY

FINDING CONSTITUTIONS AND STATUTES

I. CONSTITUTIONS

A. Other Countries

To locate the constitutions of other countries, the best source to use is Constitutions of the Countries of the World (4th floor, For-Ref). Besides the text of the constitution, it also provides an annotated bibliography of other relevant material. Other sources containing the text of foreign constitutions can be found by searching LUMINA using "s=[place]--constitution". For example, "s =australia--constitution".

B. Federal

The text of the Constitution of the United States is reprinted in The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (Reserve). Historical and interpretative comments combined with references to court cases interpreting the provisions of the Constitution are included. The main volume is updated by a pocket part inserted in the back of the book.

Copies of the Constitution are also reprinted in the initial volumes of United States Code Annotated (Reserve; Ref 105.A22; Core 4, 146.Z822) and United States Code Service (Ref 105.K314; Core 3, 146.Z825). These services also include references to court decisions that have interpreted provisions of the Constitution and are updated by pocket parts or cumulative supplements. The first volume of the United States Code (Ref 105.A35) contains the text of the U.S. Constitution without references to cases.

C. State

Each state has a constitution of its own. Most states reprint their constitution in the first volume of the statute set for that state. Statute sets for states are located in the Reference collection on the Plaza level of the Law Library. These sources usually include references to court decisions interpreting the constitution.

Minnesota's constitution can be found in the first volume of its statute sets, Minnesota Statutes (Reserve; Ref 106.M618; KFM 5430) and Minnesota Statutes Annotated (Ref 106.M62; Reserve; Core 3, 148.M62; Core 4, 148.M62). The latter source includes references to court decisions.

II. STATUTES

A. Other Countries

As a general rule, laws for English-speaking countries are on the third floor in the section called E-For-L, while laws for non-English-speaking countries are on the fourth floor in the section called For-L. Within these sections, the laws are arranged alphabetically by country. Other foreign laws are located in classified texts sections on the third and fourth floors. Please check LUMINA for exact locations of laws of specific foreign countries in the library.

B. Federal

Federal statutes are printed of officially by the government in United States Code (Ref 105.A35). Two commercial publishers print the federal statutes in United States Code Annotated and United States Code Service. The text of the statutes are basically the same in all three of the sources. Statutes are arranged by title and section number. For example, if you have the cite "42 U.S.C.[[section]]211", this means that you will find the text of that statute at title 42, section 211, in United States Code, United States Code Annotated, or United States Code Service. The titles are arranged numerically within the volumes of each set. The advantage to using the two commercially-published sources is that they include references to court decisions that have interpreted the statute and they provide cross-references to other sources that deal with the same subject. In the last volume or several volumes of each set, you will find a detailed subject index to the statutes. Under the relevant subject heading, you will find a reference to the title and section of the code which covers your specific topic.

If you know the popular name of a law and you want to see the text of the law, for example the "Freedom of Information Act", all three sources have alphabetical lists of acts by popular name. Shepard's Acts and Cases by Popular Names, Federal and State (Ref 141. A3; Reference Office) also has a list by popular name.

Laws passed within the current year may not appear in any of the sources already mentioned. For the most recent laws, consult United States Code Service -Advance Service (Ref 105.A314; Core 3, 146.Z825) or United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (Reserve; Ref 105.A5). These two sources publish laws in the order that Congress passes them. Each contains a list of laws by name in the front of each volume and a subject index in the back of each volume.

C. State

State laws are produced in sets similar to federal laws. They are found in the Reference collection on the Plaza level of the Law Library and are arranged alphabetically by state. For example, Minnesota's laws are arranged by chapter or section numbers in Minnesota Statutes and Minnesota Statutes Annotated. Subject indexes are included in both sets. Laws passed in this calendar year are in Minnesota Session Law Service (Ref 106.M62; Reserve; Core 3, 148.M62; Core 4, 148.M62). Another chronological compilation of Minnesota statutes is Laws of Minnesota (also called Session Laws of the State of Minnesota)(Ref 106.M63).

If you want to compare laws from various states on the same subject, several sources will help. A five-volume work, Subject Compilations of State Laws (Reference Office), lists articles and books that compare the laws of various states. Shepard 's Acts and Cases by Popular Names, Federal and State allows you to find laws in all states that have the same popular name. The last volumes of the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory contain short summaries of laws from each state as well as selected foreign countries.

CONSTATS.891.


 

 

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