Using WestlawNext to find amendments to statutes

March 18, 2014

Law school blog 5While the credits field of a statute lists the years in which a particular statute was amended, it does not provide the actual changes. Here are two ways to use WestlawNext to find how an amendment changed the text of a statute.

Using the Credits Field to Find Amendments

You can quickly find when a statute was amended by looking at the credits field. As you can see for 3 U.S.C.A. § 104, the credits field follows the statutory text.

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The credits field shows the chronological order of amendments to the statute. The first entry is the law that created the statute. The last entry is the most recent amendment. We can find the actual text of the last amendment by clicking the link to Pub. L. 103-356.

Since Pub. L. 103-356 amends various sections of the United States Code, and we are only looking for amendments to 3 U.S.C.A. § 104, it is useful to use the magnifying glass to search for “104”:

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The green search terms from our search within the document will bring us to the relevant text. This allows us to see exactly how Pub. L. 103-356 amended 3 U.S.C.A. § 104.

The History Tab

There is another easy way to see how a statute has changed. You can go to the “History” tab of the statute and view the Editor’s and Revisor’s Notes to see changes to the statute.

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Once you have selected the Editor’s and Revisor’s Notes, you will be able to scroll down to see the amendments in reverse chronological order.

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Notice that the Editor’s and Revisor’s Notes are summary in nature and may not have the same level of detail as the actual amendment. For this reason, it is advisable to also view the text of the amendment.

If you have any questions, please contact the Reference Attorneys. Contact information is at the bottom of each screen on WestlawNext:

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