Code of Federal Regulations
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|Code of Federal Regulations|
|Publisher||Office of the Federal Register (United States)|
|Administrative law in
common law jurisdictions
|Administrative law in
civil law jurisdictions
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States.
The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.
Every regulation in the CFR must have an "enabling statute", or statutory authority. The United States Code (U.S. Code) precedes the CFR and contains statutes enacted by Congress. The CFR contains regulations, which spell out in further detail how the executive branch will interpret the law. The two documents represent different stages in the legislative process. The U.S. Code is a codification of legislation, while the CFR serves as administrative law. Administrative law exists because the Congress often grants broad authority to executive branch agencies to interpret the statutes in the U.S. Code (and in uncodified statutes) which the agencies are entrusted with enforcing. Congress may be too busy, congested, or gridlocked to micromanage the jurisdiction of those agencies by writing statutes that cover every possible detail, or Congress may determine 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, known as public information. After a period of time, the rules and regulations are usually published in the Federal Register.
The Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules in the index to the CFR correlates laws with their regulations using U.S. Code citations, Statutes at Large citations, and Public Law numbers.
The code was started in 1938.
Effect of administrative law
The rules are treated by the courts as being as legally binding as statutory law, provided the regulations 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 (six voting, three recused) involving a challenge to new Clean Air Act regulations promulgated by the Reagan administration in 1981. See Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
For example, if Congress enacted 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 (EPA)) 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 (law of bases). For example, the EPA could be designated by Congress to promulgate rules "that control harmful pollutants"; the Agency could then promulgate broad rules (including definitions and enforcement provisions), in the absence of existing specific laws, to control lead emissions, radon emissions, pesticide emissions, and so forth. Such rules, including any definitions and enforcement provisions created by Congress or the Agency, will all go into the CFR.
The rules and regulations are first promulgated or published in the Federal Register. Each is given a CFR citation, such as 42 CFR 260.11(a)(1), that can be cited immediately, without waiting for a page number from the physical copy. The aforementioned citation would be read, "title 42, part 260, section 11, paragraph (a)(1)."
NARA also keeps an online version of the CFR, the e-CFR, that is normally updated two days after changes to the regulations, that have been published in the Federal Register, become effective.
While new regulations are continually becoming effective, the printed volumes of the CFR are issued once each calendar year, on this schedule:
- Titles 1–16 are updated on January 1
- Titles 17–27 are updated on April 1
- Titles 28–41 are updated on July 1
- Titles 42–50 are updated on October 1
List of regulation titles
- Title 1: General Provisions
- Title 2: Grants and Agreements
- Title 3: The President
- Title 4: Accounts
- Title 5: Administrative Personnel
- Title 6: Domestic 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 (also known as the Federal Aviation Regulations, administered by the Federal Aviation Administration)
- 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 (administered by the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Drug Enforcement Administration)
- 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: Reserved (formerly 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 (administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency)
- 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 (including rules administered by the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies)
- Title 48: Federal Acquisition Regulations System
- Title 49: Transportation
- Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
- Government Publications - Frequently asked questions University of Minnesota Libraries, accessed Oct 2011
- 467 U.S. 837 (1984).
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- Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) from the GPO
- Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition) on FDsys from the GPO
- Code of Federal Regulations (cross-referenced to U.S. Code) from Cornell LII
- History of federal regulation from the OMB
- A Research Guide to the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations from the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, DC
- Federal regulations: The laws behind the acts from About.com