Monday, January 31, 2011

United States Code - Area 51

As Brian Huddleston, Senior Reference Librarian at Loyola New Orleans, points out, Congress has just added the 51st Title to the United States Code. Title 51 - National and Commercial Space Programs - was created by Public L. 111-314, signed into law by the President on December 18, 2010. Having more than 50 titles to the USC is an alien concept. As Brian aptly points out, "Now every legal research book is out of date and there's a lot of handouts to change."

So true. But, the creation of Title 51 is all part of the Office of Law Revision Counsel's plan for world domination, er, Positive Law Codification. In fact, we can look forward to Title 52 - Voting and Elections: Title 53 - Small Business: Title 54 - National Park System: and Title 55 - Environment. Since world domination is easier to explain than positive law codification this quote from the Law Revision Counsel's website will have to suffice for now:
Because many of the general and permanent laws that are required to be incorporated into the United States Code are inconsistent, redundant, and obsolete, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives has been engaged in a continuing comprehensive project authorized by law to revise and codify, for enactment into positive law, each title of the Code. When this project is completed, all the titles of the Code will be legal evidence of the general and permanent laws and recourse to the numerous volumes of the United States Statutes at Large for this purpose will no longer be necessary.
Their nefarious plan is laid out here:
Positive law codification bills prepared by the Office do not change the meaning or legal effect of a statute being revised and restated. Rather, the purpose is to remove ambiguities, contradictions, and other imperfections from the law. For more information about the process of positive law codification generally, see the brochure Positive Law Codification in the United States Code.
Apparently PL 111-314 is only the latest in a long line of decisions designed to:
  1. Spread chaos throughout the law librarian universe.
  2. Force hapless legal research instructors to revise their PowerPoints, handouts, and lecture notes.
  3. Provide unlimited income for legal publishers who are now forced to sell law libraries new volumes of the USCA or USCS containing Title 51. And then, Titles 52, 53, 54, and 55...
Yes Brian, you may retire now.

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