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Charles W. Chesnutt Library - Government Documents

LibraryGovernment DocumentsFederal Resources

Federal Resources

Legislative Branch
Primary Resources

Congressional Bills Project
This public resource provides information about 400,000 bills introduced in the U.S. Congress, currently 1947-2008, along with extensive information about each bill's progress and sponsor. It is used by researchers to study legislative institutions and behavior; by policy experts to study issue attention in Congress; and even by citizens studying their family.

Congressional Hearings
A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. Most congressional hearings are published two months to two years after they are held.

Economic Indicators
Economic Indicators Available from April 1995 forward, this monthly compilation is prepared for the Joint Economic Committee by the Council of Economic Advisors and provides economic information on prices, wages, production, business activity, purchasing power, credit, money and Federal finance.

History of Bills   
The History of Bills lists legislative actions on bills that are reported in the Congressional Record. It is part of the print Congressional Record Index, which is published biweekly by the Joint Committee on Printing when Congress is in session, but is maintained as a separate application on GPO Access.

History of Bills and Resolutions
The History of Bills and Resolutions lists legislative actions taken on bills and resolutions as recorded in the Congressional Record. In print, this resource is part of the Congressional Record Index. On, it is provided in the form of chronological lists of links to debate, motions, and actions. These are accessible from the records of all bills and resolutions introduced between 1995 and the present (beginning with the 104th Congress). 

How Our Laws Are Made/The Library of Congress: 
"How Our Laws Are Made” reflects changes in congressional procedures since the 22nd edition, which was revised and updated in 2000.

Letters of Delegates to Congress: 1774 - 1789
The twenty-six volumes of the Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 aims to make available all the documents written by delegates that bear directly upon their work during their years of actual service in the First and Second Continental Congresses, 1774-1789.

U.S. Code
"The Office of the Law Revision Counsel prepares and publishes the U.S. Code, which is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general laws of the United States."

U.S. Congressional Serial Set
"The U.S. Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers. In general, it includes: committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, certain executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications."
Legislative information on congess can be searched through this site. Search for Public Laws, Appropriations Bills, Multiple Previous Congresses, Congressional Record, Committee Reports, Presidential Nominations, Treaties, Roll Call Votes, and other lawmaking and congressional resources.

Congressional Research Services (Library of Congress):

CRS provides high-quality research and analysis for members of Congress with more than $100 million funding a year. The succinct and well-researched reports on almost every Congress’ subject are valuable resources for academic researchers and general public. Congressional Research Service (CRS) does not provide direct public access to its reports unless requesting them from their Member of Congress. Users can retrieve the CRS report from the following places: 

Full Text CRS Report (UNT-University of North Texas, Digital Library) 
This search database provides many of the full-text CRS reports that have been available at a variety of different resources since 1990. Users can browse the collection by topic or conduct searches for words, title, creators, subject.  

 Congressional Research Services Reports (FAS-Federation of American Scientists)
Federation of American Scientists endeavors to provide current, regularly updated public access to as many non-confidential CRS reports as possible. These reports are provided without congressional or CRS authorization as a public service.The main focus is related to national security.
" is a project of Demand Progress in collaboration with the Congressional Data Coalition - a bipartisan coalition founded by Demand Progress and the R Street Institute to promote open legislative information." 

"CRS is Congress' think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers for accurate and timely analysis of important policy issues. The reports are not classified and do not contain individualized advice to any specific member of Congress...Until today, CRS reports were generally available only to the well-connected.

Now, in partnership with a Republican and Democratic member of Congress, we are making these reports available to everyone for free online. A coalition of public interest groups, journalists, academics, students, some Members of Congress, and former CRS employees have been advocating for greater access to CRS reports for over twenty years. Two bills in Congress to make these reports widely available already have 10 sponsors (S. 2639 and H.R. 4702, 114th Congress)."

U.S House of Representatives 

U.S Senate 

Congressional Directory 
"Congressional Directory is the official directory of the U.S. Congress, prepared by the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). It presents:

  • Short biographies of each member of the Senate and House, listed by state or district.
  • Committee memberships, terms of service, administrative assistants and/or secretaries, and room and telephone numbers for Members of Congress.
  • Lists officials of the courts, military establishments, and other Federal departments and agencies, including D.C. government officials, governors of states and territories, foreign diplomats, and members of the press, radio, and television galleries.

According to the U.S. Code (44 USC 721), the Congressional Directory is made available during the first session of each new Congress. Subsequent to delivery of the printed 1997-1998 Congressional Directory, the JCP established the practice of producing periodic online interim issues to ensure the public's economical access to current Congressional information. The frequency of these online revisions will be determined by the volume of changes submitted for incorporation. No printed counterpart will exist for these online publication revisions.

FDsys contains directories for the 104th (1995-96) Congress forward, as well all Interim editions (online-only revisions) for the 105th Congress forward. Documents are available as ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files."

Members of the U.S. Congress at - Searchable version of the Congressional Directory fwith biographic information available from 1774 to the present.

Judicial Branch
Primary Resources

Oyez (Supreme Court)
The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court sinc Supreme e the installation of a recording system in October 1955.

U. S. Supreme Court
View opinions, filings and rules, arguments, cases and news aboiut the United States Supreme Court. Under Case Documents is a docket search and information about cases, both pending and decided.

U.S Constitution
Full text of the U.S Constitution and its amendments

United States Courts 
This site provides information about federal courts, judges and judgeships, services and forms, court records, statistics and reports and rules and policies.  It introduces the federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the government.

Federal LawFedLaw was developed to see if legal resources on the Internet could be a useful and cost-effective research tool for Federal lawyers and other Federal employees. Fedlaw has assembled references of use to people doing Federal legal research and which can be accessed directly through "point and click" hypertext connections.

Opinions - Supreme Court
The term "opinions," as used here, refers to several types of writing by the Justices. The most well known are the opinions of the Court announced in cases in which the Court has heard oral argument. Each sets out the Court's judgment and its reasoning. The Justice who authors the majority or principal opinion summarizes the opinion from the bench during a regularly scheduled session of the Court. Shortly thereafter, a copy of the opinion is posted on this website.

Introduction to the Federal Court System (Ofices of the United States Attorneys)
This official site is to provide information about how the courts work, how they are organized, and how they fit into the U.S. system of government. The federal court system has three main levels: district courts (the trial court), circuit courts which are the first level of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system. There are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court throughout the country.

TheJudicial Branch (
Where the Executive and Legislative branches are elected by the people, members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Article III of the Constitution, which establishes the Judicial Branch, leaves Congress significant discretion to determine the shape and structure of the federal judiciary. Even the number of Supreme Court Justices is left to Congress - at times there have been as few as six, while the current number (nine, with one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices) has only been in place since 1869. The Constitution also grants Congress the power to establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court, and to that end Congress has established the United States district courts, which try most federal cases, and 13 United States courts of appeals, which review appealed district court cases. Federal judges can only be removed through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate. Judges and justices serve no fixed term - they serve until their death, retirement, or conviction by the Senate. By design, this insulates them from the temporary passions of the public, and allows them to apply the law with only justice in mind, and not electoral or political concerns.

United States Judicial Branch

  • U. S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals: 1st Circuit; 2nd Circuit; 3rd Circuit; 4th Circuit; 5th Circuit; 6th Circuit; 7th Circuit; 8th Circuit; 9th Circuit; 10th Circuit; 11th Circuit; District of Columbia Circuit; Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts 
    • U.S. Courts of Special Jurisdiction
Lower Courts
Special Courts
Court Support Organizations
Executive Branch
Primary Resources

Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) “is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis."  

Budget of the United States Government
Annual budget documents provide Congress, State and local governments, and the public with a complete description of the president's budget plans for the coming fiscal year. Other related and supporting budget publications, such as the Economic Report of the President, are included, which may vary from year to year. 

---------updated 12/5/18

Economic Report of the President
The annual report written overviews the nation's economic progress using text and extensive data appendices. Documents are available in ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), with many of the tables also available for separate viewing and downloading as spreadsheets in xls and comma delimited.

Federal Register
The Federal Register provides a uniform system for making available regulations and legal notices issued by Federal agencies. These include Presidential proclamations and Executive Orders and Federal agency documents having general applicability and legal effect, documents required to be published by act of Congress and other Federal agency documents of public interest. 

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
Each volume provides the papers and speeches of the President of the United States that were issued by the Office of the Press Secretary during the specified time period. The material is presented in chronological order, and the dates shown in the headings are the dates of the documents or events.  

U.S. Government Manual
The United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions, and committees.  

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
It is published every Monday and is the official publication of presidential statements, messages, remarks, and other materials released by the White House Press Secretary.

The White House

Cabinet Department Web Sites
Sub-Cabinet Agencies
Independent and Quasi-Federal Agencies
Federal Departments and Agencies
A Constituent Institution of The University of North Carolina