Researching regulatory history can be a daunting task, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. Regulations (final rules) are compiled and codified (organized systematically) under the titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Regulatory history research is often conducted to investigate why an agency enacted a particular regulation or to help academics, lawyers, and judges interpret a regulation. Regulations are a source of primary authority.
Congress drafts laws, but delegates authority to federal agencies to create rules and regulations that have the force of law. The president can also direct an agency to create regulations through an executive order. The creation of regulations is called the rule-making process. The rule-making process begins when an agency proposes a new regulation or amends an existing one.
The proposed regulation is published in the Federal Register, which is a daily publication that contains all proposed and final rules, executive orders, and other documents issued by federal agencies. After the proposed regulation is published, the public has an opportunity to comment on it. The agency then reviews the comments and makes any necessary changes before publishing the final rule in the Federal Register. Once a regulation is published in the Federal Register, it is codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is organized into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.
Each title is divided into chapters, which are further divided into parts. Each part contains the regulations issued by a particular agency related to that subject area. Regulatory history research involves examining the documents related to a particular regulation. This includes reviewing the proposed rule, comments received from the public, and any other documents related to the rule-making process. It also involves examining any subsequent amendments or changes made to the regulation. Regulatory history research can be time-consuming and complex.
It requires knowledge of how regulations are created and how they are organized in the CFR. It also requires knowledge of how to access and interpret documents related to a particular regulation. However, understanding regulatory history can be invaluable for those seeking to understand why an agency enacted a particular regulation or how it should be interpreted.