Legislative History Help from LLSDC

Researchers at Brooklyn Law School can benefit from the very useful Legislative Source Book published by the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) which recently added a webpage on Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, Cases and Resources. The page links to Federal EEO laws, a number of related CRS reports, Federal agency resources, non-governmental resources, and US court opinions.

The Source Book has other links that will help researchers including a multi-part Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner’s Guide to Compiling the Documents and Sifting for Legislative Intent. The guide explains what Federal legislative histories are and how they are used, discusses the Federal legislative process and legislative history documents, directs researchers on finding already compiled Federal legislative histories, explains the process of compiling a Federal legislative history in paper format and electronically and from older records. There is also a section on sifting for legislative intent language in a Federal legislative history as well as links to other Federal legislative history web sites. Another valuable resource in the LLSDC Source Book is Legislative Histories of Selected U.S. Laws on the Internet which organizes its material by Popular Name Listing, Public Law Number Listing, and Commercial Legislative Histories on the Internet (those of Westlaw, LexisNexis and HeinOnline).

The BLS Library has in its collection Reference Librarian Joseph Gerken’s book What Good is Legislative History? Justice Scalia in the Federal Courts of Appeals (Call #KF425 .G47 2007). Justice Scalia is an outspoken critic of legislative history. The book analyzes more than 250 Circuit Court decisions that refer to Justice Scalia’s criticism of legislative history. It covers Scalia’s preference for textualism rather than relying on material he considers unreliable for interpreting laws. It has chapters on the history of legislative history and the evolution of the Supreme Court’s attitude toward its use.

To help researchers looking for New York legislative history materials, the BLS Library catalog links to an electronic resource from the New York State Library called Legislative Intent in New York State: Materials, Cases and Annotated Bibliography by Robert Allan Carter (KFN5074 .C37 2001). The link leads to a page that was last updated on June 22, 2009 and has a New York State Legislative History Research Tutorial.