Code of Federal Regulations

From Academic Kids

The United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

Contents

Purpose

The CFR exists because the United States Congress often grants broad authority to executive branch agencies to interpret the statutes in the United States Code which the agencies are entrusted with carrying out. This is either because Congress is too busy or congested to micromanage the jurisdiction of those agencies by writing statutes that cover every possible detail, or Congress feels that the technical specialists at the agency are best equipped to develop detailed applications of statutes to particular fact patterns as they arise.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the agencies are permitted to promulgate detailed rules and regulations through a public "rulemaking" process where the public is allowed to comment. After a period of time, the rules and regulations are published in the Federal Register and incorporated into the CFR. The regulations are then treated by the courts as effective as statutory law, as long as they are a reasonable interpretation of the underlying statutes. This "reasonable interpretation" test or Chevron doctrine was articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous decision (6 voting, 3 recused) involving a challenge to new Clean Air Act regulations promulgated by the Reagan administration in 1981. Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984).

For example, if Congress passed a law that simply stated that there are not to be "excessive" levels of mercury in any significant body of water in the United States (but defined things no further), an entity designated, as part of the law, to enforce it (probably the United States Environmental Protection Agency) could define in a scientific way what an excessive level of mercury is, as well as what constitutes a significant body of water. The Agency's definitions, and its plan of enforcement for what Congress intended (along with listed penalties for violation coming from Congress unless Congress specified otherwise) will all go into the CFR.

Also, enabling legislation can be passed by Congress which gives a federal non-Congressional entity wide latitude in creating rules. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency could be designated by Congress to pass rules "that control harmful pollutants"; the Agency could then pass broad rules (including definitions and enforcement provisions), in the absence of existing specific laws, to control lead emmissions, radon emissions, pesticide emissions, and so forth. Such rules, including any Congressional- or Agency-created definitions and enforcement provisions, will all go into the CFR.

Reputation

Most American lawyers perceive the Federal regulations to be even more dense and unreadable than their counterpart statutes in the United States Code.

Organization and printing schedule

The CFR is a multi-volume set divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. While new regulations are continually becoming effective, the physical printing of the CFR is updated on a set schedule. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis.

  • Titles 1-16 are updated as of January 1st
  • Titles 17-27 are updated as of April 1st
  • Titles 28-41 are updated as of July 1st
  • Titles 42-50 are updated as of October 1st

When finalized, new regulations are published in the Federal Register with CFR part numbers, such as 42 CFR 260.11(a), that can be cited immediately, without waiting for a page number from the physical copy.

List of Regulation Titles

  • Title 1 - General Provisions
  • Title 2 - [Reserved]
  • Title 3 - The President
  • Title 4 - Accounts
  • Title 5 - Administrative Personnel
  • Title 6 - Homeland Security
  • Title 7 - Agriculture
  • Title 8 - Aliens and Nationality
  • Title 9 - Animals and Animal Products
  • Title 10 - Energy
  • Title 11 - Federal Elections
  • Title 12 - Banks and Banking
  • Title 13 - Business Credit and Assistance
  • Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space
  • Title 15 - Commerce and Foreign Trade
  • Title 16 - Commercial Practices
  • Title 17 - Commodity and Securities Exchanges
  • Title 18 - Conservation of Power and Water Resources
  • Title 19 - Customs Duties
  • Title 20 - Employees' Benefits
  • Title 21 - Food and Drugs
  • Title 22 - Foreign Relations
  • Title 23 - Highways
  • Title 24 - Housing and Urban Development
  • Title 25 - Indians
  • Title 26 - Internal Revenue
  • Title 27 - Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms
  • Title 28 - Judicial Administration
  • Title 29 - Labor
  • Title 30 - Mineral Resources
  • Title 31 - Money and Finance: Treasury
  • Title 32 - National Defense
  • Title 33 - Navigation and Navigable Waters
  • Title 34 - Education
  • Title 35 - Panama Canal
  • Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public Property
  • Title 37 - Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
  • Title 38 - Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief
  • Title 39 - Postal Service
  • Title 40 - Protection of Environment
  • Title 41 - Public Contracts and Property Management
  • Title 42 - Public health
  • Title 43 - Public Lands: Interior
  • Title 44 - Emergency Management and Assistance
  • Title 45 - Public Welfare
  • Title 46 - Shipping
  • Title 47 - Telecommunication
  • Title 48 - Federal Acquisition Regulations System
  • Title 49 - Transportation
  • Title 50 - Wildlife and Fisheries

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