Positive Law Titles

Revisions of the U.S.C. (positive and non-positive law)

Today, the Law Revision Counsel continues a practice, begun in 1939, of revising the U.S.C., title by title, correcting errors and inconsistencies in preparation for “enactment into positive law,” making such titles “legal evidence” of the laws.  As of January 1, 2011, 25 of the 51 titles have been revised:

1. General Provisions
3. The President
4. Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and the States
5. Government Organization and Employees
9. Arbitration
10. Armed Forces
11. Bankruptcy
13. Census
14. Coast Guard
17. Copyrights
18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure
23. Highways
28. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure
31. Money and Finance
32. National Guard
35. Patents
36. Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies and Organizations
37. Pay and Allowances of the Uniformed Services
38. Veterans
39. Postal Service
40. Public Buildings, Property, and Works
44. Public Printing and Documents
46. Shipping
49. Transportation

51. National and Commercial Space Programs

Thus, there are 26 titles not yet revised, meaning that “the matter contained in the other titles of the Code is prima facie [not ‘legal’] evidence of the laws.” These other titles are:

2. The Congress
6. Domestic Security
7. Agriculture
8. Aliens and Nationality
12. Banks and Banking
15. Commerce and Trade
16. Conservation
19. Customs Duties
20. Education
21. Food and Drugs
22. Foreign Relations and Intercourse
24. Hospitals and Asylums
25. Indians
26. Internal Revenue Code
27. Intoxicating Liquors
29. Labor
30. Mineral Lands and Mining
33. Navigation and Navigable Waters
34. Navy. [Repealed]
41. Public Contracts
42. The Public Health and Welfare
43. Public Lands
45. Railroads
47. Telegraphs, Telephones, and Radiotelegraphs
48. Territories and Insular Possessions
50. War and National Defense                                              

The Law Revision Counsel requires several years of effort to revise each title, meaning that this project may not be completed until well into the 21st century. In the meantime, there is understandable interest in protecting the accuracy of the corrected titles that have been revised to date. This explains in part why certain Bills in Congress (later to become Acts) would amend the U.S.C., while others would amend an existing Act.

NOTE: The following Titles are currently being worked on as part of the Positive Law Codification Project.

Title 35, "Patents, Trademarks, and Other Intellectual Property"

Title 41, "Public Contracts"

Title 51, "National and Commercial Space Programs"

Title 52, "Voting and Elections"

Title 53, "Small Business"

Title 54, "National Park System"

Title 55, "Environment"