To locate legislative history and statutory interpretation resources throughout the collection,
Click on the first result for a listing of all of the library's holdings on this topic.
When statutory language is clear, construction of the statute by reference to its history is unnecessary. This is the "plain meaning rule." Accordingly, when a statute is ambiguous and unclear courts look into the legislative history to clear up the ambiguity. Courts may use extrinisic aids to help them in their pursuit of the meaning of the statute.
Source materials outside the text of the statute are known as extrinsic aids. They consist of the history of a statute including
This information can be found in
Years of the 1st through 113th Congresses (1789-2014)
Since 1934, the first session of a Congress convenes on January 3 of odd-numbered years and adjourns on January 3 the following odd-numbered year. For ease of use, this table lists the closing date of each Congress as an even-numbered year. For exact dates of sessions, consult the Congressional Directory, Sessions of Congress table.