The Code of Federal Regulation (abbreviated CFR) is the collection of regulations passed by Federal agencies in the United States. The CFR differs from the United States Code, which is the set of presently-enforceable laws that came to be law by votes in Congress. The various agencies with the power to create laws receive this power through Congress, but Congress does not review the specific regulations passed once an agency has had authority delegated to it.
at right: the spines of some of the volumes of the CFR as found on the shelves of the Law Library at the Library of Congress when these photographs were shot in October 2008. Of the fifty titles of the CFR some of which are spread over multiple volumes most (if not all) of the titles were on the shelf in versions updated in 2007 or 2008.
Viewers of a John Stossel television program on the ABC broadcast network on October 17, 2008, saw Stossel demonstrate that the pages in a single title, when removed from the binding and then attached end to end, rolled out the whole length of a football field and then halfway back again. (Read story, view video) The present web page demonstrates just how much shelf space the regulations occupy when the pages are in their binding and on shelves.
The CFR is spread across ten shelves at the Library of Congress. Specific details follow.
First shelf: CFR titles 1-5
Second shelf: CFR titles 5-12
Third shelf: CFR titles 12-18
Fourth shelf: CFR titles 19-25
Fifth shelf: CFR titles 26-29
Sixth shelf: CFR titles 29-36
Seventh shelf: CFR titles 36-40
Eighth shelf: CFR titles 40-44
Ninth shelf: CFR titles 45-49
Tenth shelf: CFR titles 49-50
Total lineage: 304.5 inches and that doesnt include the index.
In each book, regulations are in small type, double column, printed on both sides of the page.
In addition to the volumes comprising the specific titles and the one volume of index, there are a number of guide volumes published by private firms. These are sufficiently numerous that at the Library of Congress, these guide volumes finish off the tenth shelf and occupy most of the next shelf. Because these books are not unique and not official regulatory information from the U.S. Government, these additiional books are not computed into the total lineage.
Listing of the specific titles of the CFR: 1. General Provisions 2. Grants and Agreements 3. The President 4. Accounts 5. Administrative Personnel 6. Domestic Security 7. Agriculture 8. Aliens and Nationality 9. Animals and Animal Products 10. Energy 11. Federal Elections 12. Banks and Banking 13. Business Credit and Assistance 14. Aeronautics and Space 15. Commerce and Foreign Trade 16. Commercial Practices 17. Commodity and Securities Exchanges 18. Conservation of Power and Water Resources 19. Customs Duties 20. Employees' Benefits 21. Food and Drugs 22. Foreign Relations 23. Highways 24. Housing and Urban Development 25. Indians 26. Internal Revenue 27. Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms 28. Judicial Administration 29. Labor 30. Mineral Resources 31. Money and Finance: Treasury 32. National Defense 33. Navigation and Navigable Waters 34. Education 35. Panama Canal 36. Parks, Forests, and Public Property 37. Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights 38. Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief 39. Postal Service 40. Protection of Environment 41. Public Contracts and Property Management 42. Public Health 43. Public Lands: Interior 44. Emergency Management and Assistance 45. Public Welfare 46. Shipping 47. Telecommunication 48. Federal Acquisition Regulations System 49. Transportation 50. Wildlife and Fisheries.
The texts of all the CFR titles can be read on the internet at a web site of the United States Government: the United States Government Printing Office Online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/cfr-table-search.html.
The United States Code (abbreviated USC) is the collection of laws passed by the United States Congress, minus the ones that have been repealed or superceded. When the photographs on this page were shot in October 2008, the Law Library at the Library of Congress had year 2000 editions of the USC. Shown at left are the first two shelves of the USC. Not shown are the third shelf of the USC (a partial shelf) and space devoted to table volumes, index volume, and supplements in volumes dated 2001 through 2005.
The United States Code occupies this much shelf space:
First shelf (USC titles 1-21): 34.25 inches
Second shelf (USC titles 22-42): 28.75 inches
Third shelf (USC titles 42-49): 10 inches
Table volumes and index: 18.5 inches
Supplement volumes dated 2001 through 2005 are spread over three shelves:
First shelf of supplements: 5.5 inches
Second shelf of supplements: 34 inches
Third shelf of supplements: 13.75 inches
All told, the USC of year 2000 (minus supplements) occupies 73 inches of shelf lineage.
Although the actual amount of space that would be occupied by an up-to-date set of the USC would be more, it would be misleading to add in the lineage taken up by the supplement volumes. The supplements often substitute new law for old, and there is a great deal of duplicate material where an updated version of a set of statutes contains a small number of revisions relative to a substantial number of subsections that have remained the same.
An Incredible Contrast
When the laws of the United States were codified as the United States Code in 1925, all of the titles combined occupied a single volume.
image: Close-up of the book title on the spine of the 1925 USC.
image: Title page of the 1925 USC.
(Although this page does read in part Volume 44 - Part 1 of the United States Statutes at Large, the Part 1 refers to the place of the USC within the Statutes at Large series of book and not to the existence of any additional volumes of the USC. There is just a single volume of USC in 1925.)
There are 50 numbered titles in the USC just as there are 50 titles in the CFR. The 50 USC titles do not include ten where letter A follows a number already used, which when counted brings the number of titles up to 60. Incredibly, the numbers for specific subjects do not match. For example, copyright law is covered by Title 17 in the USC but is Title 37 in the CFR.
The specific titles in the USC are: 1. General Provisions 2. The Congress 3. The President 4. Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and the States 5. Government Organization and Employees 5A. Government Organization and Employees (Appendix) 6. Surety Bonds [Repealed] 7. Agriculture 8. Aliens and Nationality 9. Arbitration 10. Armed Forces 10A. Armed Forces (Appendix) 11. Bankruptcy 11A. Bankruptcy (Appendix) 12. Banks and Banking 13. Census 14. Coast Guard 15. Commerce and Trade 16. Conservation 17. Copyrights 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure 18A. Crimes and Criminal Procedure (Appendix) 19. Customs Duties 20. Education 21. Food and Drugs 22. Foreign Relations and Intercourse 23. Highways 24. Hospitals and Asylums 25. Indians 26. Internal Revenue Code 26A. Internal Revenue Code (Appendix) 27. Intoxicating Liquors 28. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure 28A. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure (Appendix) 29. Labor 30. Mineral Lands and Mining 31. Money and Finance 32. National Guard 33. Navigation and Navigable Waters 34. Navy [Repealed] 35. Patents 36. Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations 37. Pay and Allowances of the Uniformed Services 38. Veterans' Benefits 38A. Veterans' Benefits (Appendix) 39. Postal Service 40. Public Buildings, Property, and Works 40A. Public Buildings, Property, and Works (Appendix) 41. Public Contracts 42. the Public Health and Welfare 43. Public Lands 44. Public Printing and Documents 45. Railroads 46. Shipping 46A. Shipping (Appendix) 47. Telegraphs, Telephones, and Radiotelegraphs 48. Territories and Insular Possessions 49. Transportation 50. War and National Defense 50A. War and National Defense (Appendix).
The texts of all the USC titles can be read on the internet at a web site of the United States Government: the United States Government Printing Office Online at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/browse.html.
CopyrightData.com in its law section allows visitors to see the text of Title 17 of the USC (the copyright law) in its every version from 1909 to the present. Two pages at http://law.copyrightdata.com let visitors see through side-by-side comparisons how an entire title transformed over several decades. In visiting the page, click the light-blue buttons reading See the Chart for 1909 to 1947 and See the Chart for 1947 to 1976. The pages that come up have tables that show variations in statutes that were law for only part of the time span represented on the particular page. Also available on the site, at http://law.copyrightdata.com/amendments.php, are the texts of every bill passed into law by Congress which amended Title 17.