TOC The Law for the layman Your Turn
Table of Content:

A - To whom is this intended?

Professional lawyers already know this material. They might want however to use it as a handy reference to give to those who, lacking their professional expertise, could still benefit from accessing background information on their own time, as long as it is easily found.

The intended target audience is all those whose occupation is anything but law. It includes students, the activists who fight for their cause without the benefit of a law degree, and people engaged in business, especially those whose responsibilities face the liabilities and vulnerabilities of the information age, be they for example managers, computer engineers or human resources experts.

Sooner or later such a layman will need, in the ordinary course of business, to speak to a lawyer to verify whether some action is either mandated or forbidden by law or to work with a lawyer in multi-disciplinary team assignments. One approach is to consider law and lawyers as some consider their car engines, i.e. black boxes best dealt with by expert mechanics. It pays however to be able to speak the language of the expert, either to discuss the symptoms or to understand the nature of the work proposed and eventually billed.

Becoming able to communicate intelligently with a lawyer has a downside. By robbing the law of part of its mystery, some laymen might be tempted to play the lawyer. Having a loaded firearm in one's hands does not make one a good hunter, however, and can lead to very unfortunate consequences to self and neighbor. Self-lawyering is strongly discouraged for the same reason.

Another important argument for learning more about the law is to be able to weave its threads into the very fabric of business planning. In the healthcare industry for example, an executive who ignores privacy mandates as he or she contemplates or specifies a new process involving patient data might waste significant resources until reminded of the requirements needed to ensure HIPAA compliance.

Finally it is imperative to understand that law is dynamic. Businesses may be subject to the law but the law is subject to lobbying. It has been said that as MCI battled the AT&T monopoly, it created more economic value by leading to the deregulation of the telephone industry than in deploying new services. One may conclude that it pays to pick a lawyer for CEO but lawyers are not necessarily the best at managing a business. Yet it behooves all CEO's to understand how laws are enacted and enforced if part of the business strategy aims at changing them.

What follows applies to the United States. Although many concepts carry to other countries, one must realize actual sources and examples lose most of their validity. Examples have been taken from the lectures on Liabilities and Vulnerabilities in the Information Age. At the elementary level adopted here, there is however a strong consistency within the law of a given country and the reader will have no difficulty to apply this to other areas as long as the objective is to understand how it may be affected by law in the United States. This ability to extrapolate also justifies the emphasis here given to US law over State law.

B - The sources: the static view

At any given point in time, the legal framework is made of three sources:

  • the codes, which compile the existing body of laws (or statutes)
  • the rules, which establish the practical consequences of the laws (or regulations)
  • the cases, which record how past legal disputes have been solved
    • Zubulake IV, a decision from the US District Court of Southern District New York, Oct 2003, on electronic document retention in case of litigation
This apparent complexity is but the reflection of the so-called separation of constitutional powers. The legislative branch of the government, i.e. the US Congress, is responsible for passing the laws, the executive branch, i.e. governmental regulatory entities such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Department of Energy, for issuing the rules and the judiciary branch, i.e. the US courts, for deciding the cases.

It also corresponds to different levels of abstraction, the statutes being the most general part of the legal framework and caselaw dealing with its most specific aspects. Along with other countries with a common law tradition, the United States give great respect however to past cases which, despite their accidental nature, inspire subsequent legal decisions by becoming precedents. Only time and a good lawyer can make the difference between so-called landmark precedents every laymen should know about and obscure ones which legal research teams unearth when preparing for trial.

What precedes is in fact a simplification. Law in the United States originates at two levels. To the federal level mentioned above, one must add the state level at which one finds a parallel structure of codes, rules and cases (see for example the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). One does not need to be a lawyer to foresee the impact of such a two-tier structure. First a business may have to contend with as many law systems as there are states in which it operates. Second whenever federal and state authorities overlap, there arises a potential for conflict which must be resolved. One of two lines can be followed

  • A federal law may explicitly supersede state law and thus create uniformity.
  • A federal law may explicitly recognize the authority of each state to go beyond what amounts to a federal lowest common denominator and enact stricter laws according to their own traditions.

When a business operates in foreign countries as well, the laws of the countries concerned become relevant too. Given the absence of a "world government", harmonization between competing legal frameworks cannot be taken for granted. When circumstances are favorable, it can take one of two forms. Traditionally countries may enter into a bilateral or, when more than two are involved, multilateral treaty. For greater efficiency, international organizations linked to the United Nations have also been created since World War II. Their jurisdiction, i.e. the extent of their authority, is defined by a multilateral treaty which member countries have chosen to ratify.

C - Practical business considerations

There is no denying a certain beauty to legal frameworks, similar to that inspired by monumental architecture. The layman engaged in business however has little time for such considerations, even if sensitive to art. What matters is to be able to get one's own bearing quickly. If one knows where is North and how many stories have been climbed, one feels much better following an expert guide during a visit to a complex building. The equivalent in law has three components.

  • the jurisdiction. The first order of business is to know what part of the legal framework has authority over your activity. Sometimes calling for a trivial answer, always a capital concept, jurisdiction has two main aspects.
    • One is regulatory. Business executives are more concerned with practice, and therefore rules, than with legal theory. Fittingly, while laws and cases flow from generic sources, respectively the US Congress and the US Courts, rules are issued by an array of governmental entities to better reflect the diversity of industries. Among them, at the federal level and by no means exhaustively:
      e.g., A diversified conglomerate may be subject to more than one regulatory entity. Laymen should not assume that it is any different for well focused companies. True, the US Congress tries its best to contain overlaps between regulatory entities.
      • the FTC will clearly not overlap with the OTS
      • simple subjects may however lead to complicated language, as shown by consumer privacy protection rulemaking of 15 USC sections 6804 and 6805, sorting out the respective roles of the SEC, the OTS, the FTC and several other governmental entities
      Assume on the other hand an electric utility engages in telemarketing. This layman is lead to believe this company, which is normally ruled by the FERC, is in fact also subject to FTC regulations on telemarketing.
    • The other is geographic. Here again answers are not as straightforward as one may wish. Suppose a company operates out of Chicago. It will be subject to US and Illinois laws and courts. But to what extent its activities will subject it to other state laws and courts requires professional analysis. Caselaw indeed defies easy answers. A California state court can provide a precedent to a case heard in Illinois. On the other hand a Seventh US Circuit judge may beg to differ from the opinions of a Ninth US Circuit judge.
  • the second concern has to do with evolution over time, the very factor eliminated in the preceding static analysis. This can work to one's advantage in two ways.
    • First business practices, especially in mature industries, are bound to have already implemented past legal requirements. So past laws are relevant mostly when one introduces significant changes in the way of doing business, a situation which does not occur that frequently. Thus one can focus on new requirements, especially new regulatory requirements, a much smaller set.
    • Second one must ask what are the current legal trends and how they will affect current business activities and objectives. Looking at trendsetting jurisdictions, even when one is outside of their reach, might well prove prescient. Besides law influences as much as it is influenced by, business innovation and companies may turn impending laws into a source of competitive advantage. More often businesses invest in influencing the making of new laws and regulations simply to defend their interests.
  • to make the most of such legal dynamics, one should be ready to express what are the major legal issues intrinsic to a business or activity. For instance the lectures on Liabilities and Vulnerabilities in the Information Age look at related risks according to the very nature of information, an intrinsic structure respected by and reflected within, the law, past, present and future. Take information disposal and see how information deletion relates to customer confidentiality while information retention relates to the integrity of control enforcement.
    For a deeper understanding, it pays not to be a prisoner of too formal boundaries. As already stated the most illuminating laws and regulations may very well be found outside of one's own jurisdiction.
    • Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) published as Public Law 107-204, Jan 2002, mandated a periodic assessment of their internal controls by public companies. This requires a close look at data integrity and hence data security.
      As it happens, the Department of Health and Human Services had already published clear, helpful documents on the subject (see Guidance on the Security Rule) as part of its rule making related to HIPAA (Public Law 104-191, August 1996) and its focus on patient privacy.

D - The sources: the dynamic view

New laws are passed by the legislature, the US Congress at the federal level. They originate as bills drafted and introduced by one or several members in their respective assembly, at the federal level either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Besides the members themselves, bill suggestions can come from the executive branch of the government and from lobbyists representing the competing interests of non for profit organizations, commercial concerns and foreign governments.

The process by which a bill is approved into law depends on the rules specific to each legislative assembly. This kind of procedural knowledge is a matter for specialists but some general principles apply.

  • during the process, many bills will die, either killed through an explicit action, such as a negative vote, or buried by lack of action, when the term of the assembly expires. Other bills may be amended, merged and otherwise significantly modified.
  • most of the life of a bill is spent in committee. Few get to be submitted to a floor vote by the whole assembly.
  • when the legislature consists of two assemblies, e.g. the US Congress, a bill has to be approved in the same terms by both assemblies, leading to conflicts and attempts to solve them in conference
  • once approved by the legislature, a bill becomes an act. An act requires the signature of the Executive, the President of the United States at the federal level, to become law. To resolve conflicts in their favor, the executive may oppose a veto and the legislature may override the veto.
    • the successful life of a bill signed into law, H.R.710, 110th Congress, introduced by US Representative Charles W. Norwood and signed by President George W. Bush as Public Law 110-144 (December 2007) amending the National Organ Transplant Act to legalize human organ paired donation, i.e. when two patients, both incompatible with their own donor but compatible with the other's donor, receive the organ of the other's donor, e.g. a kidney.
  • once signed into law, the relevant text is inserted into the corresponding code, which it then expands or modifies.
  • whether to influence or simply to observe, interested parties must keep alert at all times during the whole process.

Regulatory entities are responsible for rule making. However they do not have broad powers of initiative. Instead their mandate originates from the legislature which first gave them regulatory powers over a certain domain as described above. Subsequently and as the need arises to turn a specific law into practice, this law may direct the relevant entities to develop new, appropriate rules.

The process followed by regulatory entities to develop new rules differs widely from the legislative process. Reflecting the fact that rules have a very direct and practical influence on business, regulatory entities normally welcome and encourage the participation of the public.

  • Beyond contacts with representatives of the industry concerned, a regulatory entity can organize conferences and routinely use Internet to solicit and collect inputs and feedback.
  • Once a draft has been made, it can be given an official status as a proposed rule and published for further feedback.
    • see page 41 for the text of the interagency rule on Duties of Furnishers of Information, 12 CFR 41, 222, 234, 571, 717, 16 CFR 660 (December 2007)
      Notice the list of agencies cooperating under the mandate of section 312 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), published as Public Law 108-159, December 2003, setting the responsibilities of the credit reporting agencies, their suppliers of information and their customers
      The feedback process is described on page 2
    • see page 63 for the text of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Proposed Rule, 42 CFR part 3 (February 2008), just quoted
      The feedback process is described on page 2 under the heading "Public Participation"
  • Drafts and final rules are often published with copious explanations of the issues which were revealed during the process and justifications of the choices made by the regulatory entity.

Cases are decided by the courts according to court procedure. In this introductory document, nothing will be said on the underlying process, which laymen will never encounter without appropriate legal representation, beyond the following remarks:

  • cases may be appealed from a lower jurisdiction to a higher one, all the way to the US Supreme Court
  • while the first initiative belongs to the plaintiff, the possibility to settle and the right to appeal can later hand down the initiative to the defendant as well.
  • a case should be approached as an investment by the party currently with the initiative and an expense by the other party
  • the payoff for the investment may be to
    • win the case at hand, but it can also be to
    • gain time, e.g. to wait for a favorable outcome on another front which the loss of the case would preclude, or further to
    • establish a desirable future precedent or
    • overturn a detrimental prior precedent
Viewed in this perspective, lawsuits and trials can be treated either as risky investments or unexpected costs, something to which laymen can immediately relate. Needless to say, the best case scenario is when one is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant to a case but comes to benefit from its conclusion as it establishes a favorable precedent. In such situations, the party responsible for the investment may try to split the corresponding costs among those who will profit from a favorable outcome, for example by having an industry financed association shoulder the legal expenses.

E - How to search for information

Independently of one's objectives, the following lists a good starting set of freely accessible Internet sites. These resources helped the author, a layman, to write his lectures on Liabilities and Vulnerabilities in the Information Age. Suffice to say, this list is not exhaustive.

On a routine basis, law professionals also use for a fee services such as Shepard's from LexisNexis and WestLaw from Thompson West, as well as the Pacer service from the Administrative Office of the US Courts.

Besides the US Federal Government, other resources provide a second source to the legal federal record and an indispensable entry to the records of the fifty states. If one's focus is one specific state, it also pays to use a search engine to access the official site for this state, e.g. Massachusetts. Special mention should be made of Public.Resource.org, a non for profit organization dedicated to giving the public free access to the public record. It encourages volunteers who have an opportunity to access public sources to upload a copy of the content so acquired, which is by definition in the public domain, for free redistribution. This work in progress competes with public administrations which restrict electronic access to their documents to fee-paying users. Areas covered include but are not limited to: Outside of the United States, many countries provide similar entry points. It is advisable to have good reading skills in the language of the country under consideration. Here is a sample which can be easily expanded with a search engine.

Searching for legal information covers different tasks. For instance one may want to look for a specific text or to observe or influence the latest developments, reflecting either a static or a dynamic approach to the law.

At the US federal level, the best observation points for ongoing activity are:

Again at the US federal level, the starting point for finding a reference is the Government Printing Office (GPO), with its four main links towards: As far as international law is concerned, we will add only one link to those already mentioned When it comes to find a reference, the layman is at a disadvantage over professionals. This is because references picked up by laymen rarely follow the formal way found in law review articles.

Formal references are designed to produce a string which may appear obscure to the layman but facilitates quick retrieval.
Suppose you need to find title 47 USC section 227, as quoted above:

  • consult the US Code (USC) via the GPO link just provided and
  • either browse its 2000 edition for title 47 and then locate section 227 by trial and error, knowing that sections are listed in ascending order
    it is found inside chapter 5, subchapter 2, part 1
  • or search for "47US227", following the search conventions specific to the page
  • and find the statute for "Restrictions on use of telephone equipment", after Public Law 102-243 (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)
One can go a long way if one remembers USC stands for the US Code, Pub L for Public Law and CFR for the Code of Federal Regulations. It also comes handy to learn the major divisions, called titles, of the USC and the CFR. In particular each CFR title is related to specific regulatory entities. For example 47CFR is for its main part (chapter 1) under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission.
Note - Title 47 of both the US Code and the Code of Federal Regulations are about telecommunications. This is pure coincidence.

More often than not the layman will encounter an informal reference to a document, for example in the general press and or a trade magazine. The challenge is then to reconstruct the formal reference. Three rules of thumb have been found to be useful:

  • use the advanced search option on the best known Internet search engines to look for the key phrase you are given as a reference.
    Not all searches will be as quick as the examples below. However check the links to sites, from law firms in particular, which offer comments on your informal reference. Such a target page tends to give a formal reference as part of their professional standard.
  • the context of the informal quote may contain a key indicator you can use to narrow your search efficiently
    • if it is a bill or a law, the name of its sponsor will allow you use the corresponding official site and look up this sponsor's actions
      • to locate the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (quoted above), which you happened to know is posterior to the burst of the 2000 bubble, use the keyword "Sarbanes" to search Thomas (the Library of Congress) for "bills sent to the President" during the 106, 107, 108 and 109 congress sessions. Note each "congress" covers two years, the 110th ending in 2008.
      • or, when appropriate, ask directly on the front page of Thomas for all actions by a member of Congress during the current session
    • if it is a rule, the name of the corresponding regulatory entity will enable you to look at the online archive of this agency.
      • call up the historical records of FTC calls for comments,
        search this page for the phrase "Information Furnished" and locate the link to 16 CFR 660 quoted above
        unfortunately informal keyword searches in official sites tend to be frustrating.
        Searching for "Furnishers of Information" gets no match on this page and misses the latest rulemaking when extended to the whole FTC site.
    • again for rules, knowledge of a reasonably narrow window of publication by the Federal Register enables one to search daily records for the period,
      • call up the year 2008,
        search this page for the period February 11-15 for the proposed rule issued on Patient Safety quoted above
        searching the page for February 12 for the phrase "Patient Safety" will bring proposed rule 42 CFR part 3
  • as seen above, the same legislative text can be found as a bill, a public law and a statute. A formal reference to anyone of these modes will do, as the official sources provide cross-references. Codes though are not updated daily and will not reflect the most recent laws.
    • the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) has been amended by bill H.R.710, 110th Congress (fill in HR 710 as your search string) sponsored by US Representative Charles W. Norwood and signed into Public Law 110-144 (2007) to amend 42 USC 274e
      in this case, researched in March 2008, the US Code was hopelessly out of date and a regular search on Thomas for Public Laws had to start by asking for the current list of all laws for the then current session. A direct request yielded nothing.
Exercise - The previous example mentions the National Organ Transplant Act without any other indication. Can you find the corresponding text by yourself?

F - How to read the law

Finding the original of a legal document, as described above, would be useless without the ability to understand it. Two caveats are in order though.

  • As for any language, like French or Greek, one should never confuse reading and writing skills. Leave writing to trained professionals.
  • Second, understanding takes on many levels. Nothing would be more dangerous that a layman who thinks him or herself an expert for an ability to read a legal document. Remember that one goal of this lecture is to be able to better communicate with and receive more efficient help from, true experts, not to replace them altogether.
This said, it is well known that different languages may bear similarities which help a speaker in one to pick up the other quickly. As Italian is easier to learn for French speakers, law should look somewhat familiar to computer programmers. Law and computer languages are both prescriptive and logical. It is true men have more depth and latitude in interpreting what is written for them than computers. But in the end the influence of unforeseen consequences produce strikingly similar effects.
  • the unavoidable conflict between conciseness and obscurity when expressing logical structures into words
  • inevitable gaps between what is intended by the original writers and what happens in practice
  • the impossibility for those called to solve field-born issues to reconstruct what was intended by the original writers from the written record
  • rising complexity as more and more people attempt to fix the problems by layering comments and new versions onto the original texts
  • the ultimate recognition that words, responsible for meaning, are themselves both arbitrary and ambiguous
In today's business environment, exposure to computer programming is shared by many people. If you model a business plan on a spreadsheet, you will learn a good deal which a Java programmer would recognize. This is why extensive use of the similarities between laws and computer programs have been used in the sequel.

When reading a legal document, the layman should have one advantage over the lawyer, a genuine business interest, which provides helpful context. Because this focus is reader specific, little will be said in this section about actual content, save for the sake of examples. Rather its focus is in pointing out general ways to orient oneself anywhere.

At first the reader is urged to look for the definition of the key words and concepts used in the legal document under consideration. When reading a computer program, nothing indeed is more important than to identify the names of the key variables and what they represent.

  • open the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GBLA), Public Law 106-102
    • search for "definition" with Adobe Reader (do not restrict to whole words). It is found in more than 80 places in what is admittedly a long document.
    • focusing on privacy, look up the table of content on page 4. It is the object of title V and privacy related definitions are covered in section 509
    • everyone will understand the importance of knowing what exactly GLBA means by "customer" as defined by 509 (9)
    • laymen focused on privacy (see lecture on marketing) will want to read 509 (6) on "affiliate", and 509 (11) on "customer relationship"
  • open the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 USC section 227
    • definitions are at the very beginning of the section, in 227 (a)
    • laymen focused on privacy (see lecture on marketing) will want to read 227 (a)(2) on "established business relationship"
  • open the Privacy Rule mandated by HIPAA, 45 CFR Part 160
    • definitions for general administrative requirements are in paragraph 160.103
    • laymen focused on privacy (see lecture on healthcare) will want to read 160.103 on "business associate"
    • it also pays to look for related comments by the regulatory entity. Search the beginning of the Privacy Rule comments for "business associate"
Already several important facts about reading the law come to light.
  • There is no standard about definitions in law. They can be at the beginning, at the end, everywhere or not at all.
    • in programming of course, defining one's variables is a well known matter of programming style
  • There is what some will call a perverse and all too successful attempt to unreadability via external references.
    • see above how TCPA, i.e. 47 USC section 227, defines an "established business relationship" by referring to 47 CFR 64.1200
    • in programming, external references enforce the logic and may simplify maintenance. They can also promote code obscurity.
  • Not all key concepts are defined under a "definition". Definitions may be given through prescriptions at the very heart of the law
    • see above how GBLA defines the so called customer "opt out" option in its section 502 (b), a central concept for privacy minded readers
    • for a programmer, this is akin as establishing the meaning of a variable via the program itself rather than as a separate comment.
  • Though prescriptive, law does not have full predictive power. All future circumstances cannot be imagined, let alone covered and the recursion intrinsic to the defining of words with other words never completes. Once a law and its accompanying rulemaking have been published, definitions are left to interpretation, by both law subjects and law courts.
  • Hence definitions leads to fruitful discussions between business executives and lawyers.
    • business executives will want to take maximum advantage of the freedom built in every key definition
    • lawyers will know what the courts have done to bound the borders of such freedom with legal precedents, signposts to the wise, mines to the unwary
    • e.g., take a marketing campaign towards current and former cancer patients entrusted by a Massachusetts hospital to a subcontractor based in India.
      • Does HIPAA, Public law 104-191 quoted above, allow the hospital to conduct such a "marketing" campaign ?
      • Is it "marketing" if the letter is to remind patients of the need to check their health on a regular basis, or to solicit charitable donations?
      • Would there be "an established business relationship" between the hospital and the subcontractor as defined by 45 CFR Part 160.103 ?
Definitions are not the only type of "block" one is likely to see in a legal document. It is outside the scope of this introductory material to be exhaustive but the reader has already come to expect two other types of "block" inside public laws: Above all the reader must understand that legal documents are written in indented blocks. This form, common to business document writers and programmers alike, uses properly embedded blocks, each inner block labeled with a reference unique to the outer block which contains it. In this way any block is labeled by the unique path made by concatenating the references of all the blocks which contain it starting from the outermost.
  • the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits calling "emergency telephone numbers" for telemarketing in 47 USC section 227 (b)(1)(A)(i)
    i.e., inside statute 47 USC 227, emergency numbers appear at the fourth level of indentation, which the reader will quickly verify is not even the deepest.
  • the Privacy Rule mandated by HIPAA stipulates a "business associate" contract must forbid information disclosure by default, i.e. when not otherwise permitted, in 45 CFR Part 164.504 (e)(2)(ii)(A)
    the reader will appreciate that the conventions for labeling indentations of increasing depth are somewhat inconsistent throughout the legal realm.
The purpose of indentation is three fold, as programmers well know:
  • let a block inherit the context created by the outer hierarchy of containers to which it belongs
  • limit the context created by a block to the inner hierarchy of blocks which it contains
  • be able to make external references, i.e. refer to a block from anywhere outside of it, to share common definitions or prescriptions, knowing that the reference string needs not include the path prefix common to both source and target
    • in Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GBLA), Public Law 106-102,
      section 503(b)(4), on privacy policy disclosures, refers to section 603(d)(2)(A)(iii) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • in the Privacy Rule mandated by HIPAA, 45 CFR Part 164.504 (e)(1) (about business associate contracts) refers to
      • 164.502(e)(2), outside of path 164.504
      • and simply to (e)(2), meaning 164.504(e)(2), inside path 164.504
Two important lessons come to light.
  • External references express logical links within the law but thwart context management purity and can make reading law very tedious.
    • notice the above reference from GBLA to the Fair Credit Reporting Act is informal
    • as an exercise, apply the previous section of this lecture to find the original of "the Fair Credit Reporting Act"
    • the USC is more precise. Check the statute enshrining GBLA section 503, i.e. 15 USC 6803. It references section "1681a(d)(2)(A)(iii) of this title"
  • to read the law, open multiple screen windows on a computer, a technique commonly used by programmers to read complex code
    • open GBLA, scroll the window to section 503 and size the window down to free "screen real estate"
    • keeping the first window opened, do the same with 15 USC 6803 to get the corresponding statute
    • and finally do the same with the reference to 15 USC 1681a and scroll to (d)(2)(A)(iii)
    • the relationship between the content of these three documents should now appear very clearly on the computer screen. The bigger the screen, the better.
    • Note: when there is a need to display the same pdf document in two windows at once, copy the document into a second file to fool Adobe Reader
In fact one may dream of a hyperlinked version of legal sources, where clicking on an external reference would either jump the screen to the reference or, at the choice of the reader, open a new screen window to display it.

One final word of caution. Some legal documents are mercifully short and readable,

  • assume someone concerned with organ transplants knows NOTA forbids all organ donations made for consideration,
    the NOTA amendment, Pub L 110-144 quoted above, is clear enough

Others act as public dumps, as reflected by names such as "omnibus bills"
  • take the Pub L 106-554, a law "Making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes" (December 2000)
    and uncover the Children Internet Protection Act as its title XVII

March 2008
Copyright © 2008 Philippe Coueignoux. All rights reserved.