Federal

Government and Law-Related Websites

Direct feedback on this page to law-ref@umn.edu

Quick Links: 
U.S. Code (USC)  Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (annual edition)  e-CFR  Federal Register

Executive Branch: Presidential & administrative agency documents & information
Judicial Branch: Federal court information & opinions
Legislative Branch: Constitution, statutes, bills & Congressional information.
Other Recommended Sites: for locating Federal documents, publications & information.
Acronyms, Abbreviations & Glossaries

Executive Branch

President

  • White House Web Site 
     
  • Compilation of Presidential Documents (FDsys, GPO)
    This collection includes the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents and its predecessor, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. The collection integrates material from the weekly publication dating from 1993, with Daily Compilation material as published from January 20, 2009 – forward.
     
  • Presidential Research Resources (College & Research Libraries, vol. 79, no. 2 (2018)
    This article highlights the breadth of freely available digital collections of presidential documents. The resources listed in this article provide multiple starting points for researching primary and secondary sources that include handwritten documents by the founding fathers, interview transcriptions, digitized documents, photographs, and more. The article does not contain public opinion, election, or media content sources, which are an important component of presidential research.
     
  • Presidential Directives and Where to Find Them  (Law Library of Congress)
    Presidential Directives (PDs) are signed or authorized by the President and issued by the National Security Council. This guide lists the various names given to PDs by various Presidential administrations and sources for locating them.
     
  • Presidential Signing Statements (Law Library of Congress)
    A guide to researching these official pronouncements issued by the President at or near the time a bill is signed into law. Includes links to additional web resources concerning presidential signing statements.
     
  • Presidential Libraries (National Archives and Records Administration)
    Information on researching Presidential materials and links to Presidential libraries.
     
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
    “OMB assists the President in the development and execution of his policies and programs. OMB has a hand in the development and resolution of all budget, policy, legislative, regulatory, procurement, e-gov, and management issues on behalf of the President.”

Departments & Agencies

  • Official Federal Government Web Sites - Executive Branch (Library of Congress)
    Links to Executive branch departmetnts and agencies. Includes some independent agencies, boards, commissions, committees and quasi-official agencies.
     
  • A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies (USA.gov)
     
  • Agency Index (Federal) (Doc-Law Web, Washlaw - Washburn Univ. School of Law)
    Covers executive agencies and independent agencies and establishments.
     
  • Federal Administrative Law Research Guide (University of Minnesota Law Library)
     
  • Federal Administrative Decisions & Other Actions (Government Information Resources University of Virginia Library)
    Links to “other administrative actions which are outside the scope of the CFR and the Federal Register.  Includes administrative decisions, announcements, manuals, administrative law judge information, E-FOIA reading room material and more. Browsable by agency name or by subject.
  • Reginfo.gov (Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs, Office of Managment & Budge, Executive Office of the President)
    Displays regulatory actions and information collections currently at OIRA for review. The OIRA dashboard is a component of the site that provides an up-to-date and easy-to-read graphical representation of regulatory actions currently under review. The dashboard displays these regulatory actions by agency, length of review, economic significance, and stage of rulemaking.

  • Regulations.gov
    Find, review and submit comments on Federal government documents that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register, e.g. proposed regulations. Search by keyword or phrase or browse by agency name.
     
  • Justia: Regulation Tracker
    Similar to the Regulations.gov web site (above). Notable additional features include: retrospective coverage back to 2005 and an RSS feed subscription.
     
  • U.S. Department of Justice
    Click on the DOJ Agencies link to locate the web page of a particular bureau, division, service or office within the DOJ, e.g. FBI, Civil Rights Division, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of the Attorney General.
     
  • United States Attorneys’ Offices Contact Information
    Includes links to local office web sites, such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.

Judicial Branch

  • Federal Judiciary Home Page (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)
     
  • Federal Judicial Center Home Page 
     
  • Guide to Law Online: U.S. Judiciary (Law Library of Congress)
    Links to content-based websites of primary and secondary legal resources covering the Federal court system.
     
  • Court Locator (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)
    Find links to Federal court web sites by zip code, city, state, and by court type: district, bankruptcy, appeals, etc.
     
  • Federal Judicial Nominations (Lillian Goldman Library, Yale Law School)
    Lists of nominees prepared by the Career Development Office of Yale Law School. Includes links to sources for status of nominations information.
     
  • History of the Federal Judiciary (Federal Judicial Center)
    Provides a “Federal Judges Biographical Database” covering Federal judges since 1789, descriptions and legislative history information of the various Federal courts, full text of “Landmark Judicial Legislation”, “Topics in Judicial History”, a “Historic Courthouse Photograph Exhibit” with over 600 images of federal courthouses, essays on the creation and administration of the federal judiciary, including various administrative bodies, a “Timeline for Landmark Judicial Legislation”, and a page of links to other Federal courts historical programs
     
  • FDsys US Court Opinions 
    This collection provides public access to opinions from selected Federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period. U.S. Court of International Trade Opinions are also avaiable from as early as 2014. 

Supreme Court

  • Supreme Court of the United States (U.S. Supreme Court Website)
     
  • Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Supreme Court Nomination Web Page
    Includes transcripts of confirmation hearings from 1971 to the present.
     
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justices Database 
    “This is a multi-user, public database containing a wealth of information on individuals nominated (whether confirmed or not) to the U.S. Supreme Court (John Jay-Elena Kagan). Specifically, the Database houses 263 variables, falling roughly into five categories: identifiers, background characteristics and personal attributes, nomination and confirmation, service on the Court, and departures from the bench.” Excel & Stata versions are available.
     
  • Supreme Court Database (School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis)
    The database contains over two hundred pieces of information about each case decided by the Court between 1791 and 2015 terms. The site also contains downloadable formats for analysis in a variety of statistical packages. Both Case Centered and Justice Centered data are provided. In the Case Centered data the unit of analysis is the case; i.e., each row of the dataset contains information about an individual dispute. These data should be used unless the votes of the individuals justices are of interest. The Justice Centered data include a row for each justice participating in each dispute.
     
  • Supreme Court Historical Society
     
  • SCOTUSblog
    “… devoted to comprehensively covering the U.S. Supreme Court-without bias and according to the highest journalistic and legal ethical standards. The blog is provided as a public service and is sponsored by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP.”

Supreme Court Opinions, Records & Briefs

Opinions - Open Access Web Sources

  • U.S. Reports Collection (Library of Congress)
    United States Reports is a series of bound case reporters that are the official reports of decisions for the United States Supreme Court dating to the court’s first decision in 1791 and to earlier courts that preceded the Supreme Court in the colonial era. This online collection offers access to individual cases published in volumes 1-542 of the bound edition. Cases is fully searchable and filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, name of the justice authoring the opinion, subject and by the main legal concepts at issue in each case. PDF versions of individual cases can be viewed and downloaded.
     
  • U.S. Supreme Court Opinions (FindLaw)
    A searchable database of U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1760. Supreme Court opinions are browsable by year and U.S. Reports volume number, and are searchable by party name, case title, citation, full text and docket number. FindLaw also maintains an archive of Supreme Court opinion summaries from September 2000 to the present. Summarized cases are browsable by date and searchable by docket number, case title, and full text.
     
  • Opinions (U.S. Supreme Court Website)
    The Court’s opinions in this online collection include: Opinions of the Court (the latest “Slip” opinions issued by the Court during the current term); Opinions Relating to Orders (opinions written by Justices to comment on the summary disposition of cases by orders); U.S. Reports (bound volumes from 1991 to the latest available following publication). For more information about Supreme Court opinions including descriptions of the generations of opinions (Bench Opinions, Slip Opinions, Preliminary Prints and Bound Volumes) see the Court’s, Information About Opinions webpage.
     
  • Where to Obtain Supreme Court Opinions (U.S. Supreme Court Website)
    This comprehensive list, compiled by the Court’s staff, includes both official and unofficial opinion sources, print, microform and online sources, and commercial and open access sources.

Case Documents (dockets, briefs, etc.) - Open Access Web Sources

For links to open access sources for U.S. Supreme Court case documents (dockets, briefs, oral arugments, etc…, consult the U.S. Supreme Court, Open Access Web Sources section of our Case Records & Briefs Research Guide.

Federal Courts in Minnesota

Legislative Branch

  • Congress.gov
    Contains legislation from the 93rd Congress (1973-74) to the present. See the Coverage Dates for Legislative Information page for more information. Profiles of members of Congress from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present are included and members from the 71st to 92nd Congresses (1929 to 1972) who were still serving as of the 93rd Congress are also included. 

  • Federal Digital System (FDsys) (U.S. Government Printing Office). - Note: FDsys will be retired in December 2018 and replaced by govinfo (below)
    FDsys provides public access to Government information submitted by Congress and the Federal agenices. Some of the congressional publications on FDsys include: bills (103rd Cong. 1993 to present), House & Senate Documents and Senate Treaty Documents (99th Cong., 1985 - present), Congressional Hearings (99th Cong. 1985 - present), the Congressional Record (vol. 140, 1994 - current), Congressional Reports (104th Cong., 1995 - current) and Public and Private Laws (104th Cong., 1995 - current).  Congressional documents may also be browsed by committee, e.g. House or Senate standing committees, special committees, panels, commissions.

  • govinfo (U.S. Government Printing Office)
    Provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. In December 2018, govinfo will replace its predecessor site FDsys (below). govinfo provides access to the same publications and search functionality as FDsys, but has a new look and new features.

  • GovTrack.us
    “On this site you’ll find the status of legislation, the speeches of representatives on the House and Senate floors, voting records, campaign contribution summaries, and more, plus the opinions of other users through their blog entries. And you can follow only the issues that interest you through email updates and RSS feeds.”

  • Guide to Law Online: United States Legislative (Law Library of Congress)
    Links to content-based websites of primary and secondary legal and legislative information covering Congress and the legislative process.

  • United States House of Representatives Home Page 
     

  • United States Senate Home Page 
     

  • Virtual Reference Desk (U.S. Senate)
    A clearinghouse of Senate information on the Web and guides to resources in libraries and archives.
     
  • LLSDC Legislative Source Book (Compiled by the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. - Legislative Research SIS).
    Contains a number of useful resources for researching federal legislative and regulatory history.
     
  • Center for Legislative Archives (National Archives & Records Administration)
    Includes information on accessing the records congress. Contains finding aids for legislative records and links to online resources.
     
  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation (Library of Congress - American Memory Project)
    U.S. Congressional documents & debates from the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention, and the 1st-42nd Congresses: 1774-1873. The web site also includes volumes 1-17 of the U.S. Statutes at Large, which contain the laws of the 1st - 42nd Congresses (1789-1873).
     
  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
    The CBO’s mission is to “provide Congress with objective, timely nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and with informamtion and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.
     
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    “The GAO is the audit, evaluation and investigative arm of Congress.” Web site includes GAO reports, testimony and Comptroller General Decisions and Opinions.
     
  • EveryCRSReport.com 
    This site contains a growing collection of over 8,300, freely available, CRS reports. The collection can be browsed by topic areas or searched using a custom Google search box.
     
  • Congressional Research Service Reports (Univ. of North Texas Digital Library)
    This site is not affiliated with the Congressional Research Service, but aims to provide integrated, searchable access to many of the full-text CRS reports that have been available at a variety of different web sites since 1990. Reports were downloaded from a variety of web sites that host CRS reports, either currently or in the past. Many CRS reports are updated on a regular basis, and this site includes all versions of the reports that could be located. When HTML files were captured, a note was inserted at the top of the report indicating from where the files were downloaded. To prevent the need for constant maintenance of files, most external links have been removed. Metadata has been created for each report, including subject terms from the Legislative Indexing Vocabulary, supplemented with Library of Congress Subject Headings. Users have the ability to search by keyword, title, author, subject, and report number.
     
  • Congressional Research Service Reports (Thurgood Marshall Law Library, Univ. of Maryland Law School)
    An online collection of links to CRS reports available on the web. Reports are browsable by subject, date, title and order code. The site also includes links to other online collections of CRS reports.

Other Sites for Locating Federal Documents & Publications

  • University of Minnesota Government Publications Library 
     
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 
     
  • Federal Web Harvests (NARA)
    “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserved a one-time snapshot of agency public web sites as they existed on or before January 20, 2001, as an archival record in the National Archives of the United States. NARA also conducted a harvest (i.e., capture) of Federal Agency public web sites in 2004 and of Congressional web sites in 2006, 2008 and 2010.”
     
  • FDsys Federal Digital System (Government Printing Office) - Note: FDsys will be retired in December 2018 and replaced by govinfo (below)
    Provides access to official government documents from all branches of the Federal government. Search and browse options for locating documents, as well as downloading documents in multiple formats.
     
  • govinfo (U.S. Government Printing Office)
    Provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. In December 2018, govinfo will replace its predecessor site FDsys (above). govinfo provides access to the same publications and search functionality as FDsys, but has a new look and new features.
     
  • USA.gov (“The U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal”)
    USA.gov is an interagency initiative administered by the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. “As the U.S. government’s official web portal, USA.gov makes it easy for the public to get U.S. government information and services on the web. USA.gov also serves as the catalyst for a growing electronic government.”
     
  • Voxgov
    Aggregates and provides access to a broad range of content emanating from all branches of the federal government (over 14,000 government websites). The content types available are described in the Help section of Voxgov and includes:  official releases, legislation, congressional documents, regulatory documents, media advisories,  speeches, Op-Eds, and social media (Twitter feeds, YouTube videos) and much more.
     
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
    “The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general key word, or click on “Advanced Search” for more options. More than 500,000 records generated since July 1976 are contained in the CGP and it is updated daily. For publications issued prior to 1976, the printed Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (which existed from 1895-2004) should be consulted.” The GCP is continually adding more historical publications and will eventually include all the holdings of the Monthly Catalog.
     
  • MetaLib (U.S. GPO)
    A service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, MetaLib is a federated search engine that searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online. Refine your search results by exploring the various topics, date ranges, and author names.
     
  • CyberCemetery (U.S. GPO and Univ. of North Texas Libraries)
    This web site provides access to the web sites and electroic publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions.

Acronyms, Abbreviations & Glossaries

  • GovSpeak: A Guide to Government Acronyms & Abbreviations (Univeristy of California, San Diego, Library) 
    “This guide lists acronyms and abbreviations commonly used by the United States federal government. Each acronym is defined and links to the home page (or best alternative) of the identified department, agency, office, program or publication.” 
     
  • DOD Terminology Program
    Includes Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. 
     
  • U.S. Senate Glossary
    Provides brief definitions of terms related to Congress and the legislative process.

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