Hein Makes Valuable Donation to the American Public


- From a Guest Post by Post by Ann Hemmens on  In Custodia Legis:

Through an agreement with the Library of Congress, the publisher William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has generously allowed the Law Library of Congress to offer free online access to historical U.S. legal materials from their legal research resource, HeinOnline.  These titles are available through the Library’s web portal, Guide to Law Online: U.S. Federal, and include:

Researchers can download PDF files of up to 20 pages per download.

Hein authorized the Library to provide these historical U.S. federal legal materials to the public via the Internet “…as a donation to the Library and to the American public.”

These browsable resources will benefit all legal researchers everywhere by providing free online access to historical U.S. materials.

Congress.gov Is Ready For Prime Time

The Library of Congress launched Congress.gov in beta two years ago.  Its goal was to eventually replace the older legislative site, THOMAS, which was launched in 1995.  It is now ready to become the “official website for U.S. federal legislative information”.



The biggest advantages that Congress.gov has over THOMAS are the presentation and design of the site. The universal search bar at the top of the home page and clearly delineated boxes of information will be intuitive to navigate for users accustomed to search engine homepages.  The Congress.gov platform enhances access through features such as videos explaining the legislative process, compatibility with mobile devices, and a user-friendly presentation.


boxesSome additional features:

Congress.gov Resources

  • A new resources section providing an A to Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress
  • An expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day, archived to July 20, 2014

House Committee Hearing Videos

  • Live streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, and an accompanying archive to January, 2012

Advanced Search

  • Support for 30 new fields, including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member


  • Days in session calendar view
  • Roll Call votes
  • Bill by sponsor/co-sponsor




Looking for a Job or Internship at the DOJ? This New App Will Help

DOJ Law Jobs is a new mobile app recently released by the Department of Justice. The app provides attorneys and law students with a quick and easy way to find an attorney position or law student internship with the department.


DOJ Law Jobs is available for free now on iTunes for Apple iPhone, and additional versions for iPad and Android devices will be available in the next few weeks.   Users of the app will be able to create personalized job searches based on practice area, geographic preference, and hiring organization.

More information may be found here.


Celebrate Constitution Day – Take the Constitution Quiz

constitutionConstitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.

Test your knowledge of the Constitution. Take the Constitution Quiz and see how well you do.

Good luck!



Our National Anthem Celebrates its 200th Anniversary

flagFrances Scott Key was a 35-year-old Washington lawyer who’d been opposed to America’s entry into the War of 1812 from the beginning. But on the evening of September 13, 1814, he found himself watching as a prisoner on a navy ship, as the British mercilessly attacked Fort McHenry, a small fort protecting the city of Baltimore.

Key later remembered thinking it unlikely that the Americans guarding the Fort could withstand the attack, which lasted more than 24 hours.

But the next morning, he made an observation that would later be forever preserved in history:

The American flag was still there.

He was so “overcome with joy”  Key began to write words to the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which was then set to music and became our beloved “The Star-Spangled Banner”.


FBI Activates New Biometric Identification System

Called Next Generation Identification (NGI), it is a state-of-the-art digital platform of biometric and other types of identity information. NGI includes more than 30 million digitized records—and as many as 83 million digitized fingerprint cards. It replaces the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).Fingerprint_Search

The conversion from manual to digital systems began more than two decades ago when paper files outgrew the space at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. They were shipped to West Virginia, where the FBI built a campus in Clarksburg in 1992 for its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. In 2010 , CJIS broke ground on a new Biometric Technology Center and redoubled its efforts to digitize  the files.  The digitization of 8.8 million files in two years added more data points to the NGI program, and eliminated the need to move scores of cabinets full of paper into the new technology center.

It makes those records immediately accessible to law enforcement across the country,” said Penny Harker, who runs the Biometric Services Unit at CJIS. She said fulfilling requests for fingerprint matches that once took hours now take just minutes or seconds. “It’s a great benefit to them not having a delay simply because we were still storing files in a manual format.”

Although most paper files were shredded after the digitization process, some were not. The FBI fingerprint cards of historic criminals such as John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker, and Clyde Barrow remain.



Voting and Elections Get Their Own Title

uscin the United States Code (USC) that is.

Provisions relating to voting and elections are being transferred from titles 2 (Congress) and 42 (Public Health and Welfare) into a new Title 52, Voting and Elections. The transfers are necessary and desirable to create a well organized, coherent structure for this body of law and to improve the overall organization of the USC. No statutory text is altered. The provisions are merely being relocated from one place to another in the Code.

In 1926, when the organizational structure of the USC was initially established, no separate title for voting and elections was created. At that time, only two federal statutory provisions relating to voting and elections were in existence.

Since 1960, an extensive body of federal statutory law relating to voting and elections has been enacted, including title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Upon enactment, each of these laws was incorporated into the existing structure of the Code in the most logical manner possible. However, as this body of law has grown and evolved, it has become increasingly apparent that a separate title is needed. Title 52, Voting and Elections, provides a well organized, coherent structure for this important body of law while simplifying the structure of titles 2 and 42.

For the online version of the United States Code, the transfers will occur on September 1, 2014, after which the new Code citations should be used. For the printed version of the Code, the transfers will occur effective with supplement II of the 2012 edition.


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