The Green Papers
The Green Papers
Historical Data


The Code of Federal Regulations is the official codification of "general and permanent" rules and regulations promulgated and enforced by Executive Departments and Agencies of the United States Government as might be authorized by Federal Statutes (which, in turn, can be found within both the Statutes at Large and the United States Code).

Such Federal rules and regulations- so long as they are not Classified for purposes of security- are published daily (except holidays) as part of the Federal Register which, since its inception in 1936, is- for all intents and purposes- the official Journal of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government (thus, the Federal Register has the same relationship as a "record" of the formal activities of that branch of the Federal Government to said branch as has the Congressional Record to the Legislative Branch [that is: both houses of the Congress of the United States]). It should here be noted that the Federal Register also includes proposed Federal rules and regulations that have not yet been adopted as well as notices of administrative meetings and proceedings within the Executive Branch.

Even as the Federal Register was first being published, however, it was already clear that a codification of such rules and regulations as actually had been adopted would be most desirable, as such a compilation would make said rules and regulations still in force at any given time all the more easier to locate (in much the same manner that it is much easier to locate a particular Federal Statute in the United States Code than within the Statutes at Large). Thus, in 1938, began the publication of the Code of Federal Regulations (aka CFR).

The CFR mimics the United States Code in that it, too, consists of 50 Titles which, at least at the start, were- more or less- to be arranged alphabetically; this is no accident, by the way: the original idea was that each Title of the Code of Federal Regulations would likely contain the rules and regulations associated with the subject matter of the same numbered Title of the USC. However, as one can see from the table following this explanatory section, this original plan was ignored from the very beginning and, therefore, a Title in the CFR is not always going to match up with the Subject matter of the same Title number in the USC. In addition- unlike as is the case with the United States Code, in which the Titles are, for the most part, intended to be permanent (although the names of said Titles can always be altered, as needed)- not all Titles of the CFR are necessarily utilized at all times and new purposes for any CFR Title numbers no longer in use may later be found (the United States Code, by the way, has only just started this practice when a no longer used Title 6 became, relatively recently, that for 'Homeland Security'): during a period when a given Title number of the CFR is not actually in use, it is said to be "Reserved" [as of this typing (mid-2010), this is the status of only one CFR Title: Title 35].

The CFR is published in full annually in four separate volumes, one new volume issued every three months (Titles 1 through 16 in January; Titles 17 through 27 in April; Titles 28 through 41 in July; and Titles 42 through 50 in October). Individual provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations are cited as X CFR y where 'X' is the Title and 'y' the number of the rule/regulation (as Part and section of the given Title, separated by a decimal point: thus 47 CFR 97.13 would be section 13 of Part 97 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations [this, by the way, a regulation that happens to govern an aspect of Amateur Radio in the United States]).

The courts are expected to interpret the provisions of the CFR in the same manner in which they interpret Federal Statutes; indeed, any provision of the CFR is considered- in judicial, no less than in administrative, proceedings- as legally binding as any Federal Statute, but only if the given rule or regulation therein is a "reasonable interpretation" of the specific statute(s) enabling said rule or regulation (this is known as the "Reasonable Interpretation" rule). While judicial notice is required to be taken of the contents of the Federal Register (per 44 USC 1507), the Code of Federal Regulations is taken to be the "best legal evidence" of the actual text of the Federal rules and regulations in force at any given time (per 44 USC 1510).

The compilation of the Code of Federal Regulations has been arranged as in the following table:

TitleSubject Matter of TitleYears so utilizedsame subject as numbered U.S. CODE Title?
1General Provisions1938--Yes
2The Congress1938-1972Yes
Grants and Agreements2005--No
3The President1938--Yes
4Accounts1938-1943; 1945-- No
Accounts and Budget1944No
5Administrative Personnel1938--related
6Agricultural Credit1938-1966No
Economic Stabilization1972-1981No
Homeland Security2002--Yes
8Aliens and Citizenship1938-1941related
Aliens and Nationality1942--Yes
9Animals and Animal Products1938--No
10Army: War Department1938-1946related
Atomic Energy1949-1973No
11Bankruptcy1938-1946; 1949-1962Yes
Atomic Energy1947-1948No
Federal Elections1972--No
12Banks and Banking1938--Yes
13Business Credit1938-1956No
Business Credit and Assistance1957--No
14Civil Aviation1938-1959No
Aeronautics and Space1960--No
Commerce and Foreign Trade1949--related
16Commercial Practices1938--No
17Commodity and Securities Exchanges1938--No
18Conservation of Power1938-1965No
Conservation of Power and Water Resources1966--No
19Customs Duties1938--Yes
20Employees' Benefits1938--No
21Food and Drugs1938--Yes
22Foreign Relations1938--related
23Highways1938-1966; 1969--Yes
Highways and Vehicles1967-1968related
24Housing Credit1938-1948No
Housing and Housing Credit1949-1971No
Housing and Urban Development1972--No
26Internal Revenue1938--Yes
27Intoxicating Liquors1938-1972Yes
Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms1973--related
28Judicial Administration1938--related
30Mineral Resources1938--related
31Money and Finance: Treasury1938--related
32National Defense1938--related
33Navigation and Navigable Waters1938--Yes
National Military Establishment1949No
Government Management1974-1979No
35Panama Canal1938-2000 [discontinued]No
36Parks and Forests1938-1948No
Parks, Forests and Memorials1949-1973No
Parks, Forests and Public Property1974--No
37Patents and Copyrights1938-1946No
Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights1947--No
38Pensions, Bonuses and Veterans' Relief1938--related
39Postal Service1938--Yes
Protection of Environment1972--No
41Public Contracts1938-1964Yes
Public Contracts and Property Management1965--related
42Public Health1938--related
43Public Lands: Interior1938--related
44Public Property and Works1938-1972No
Emergency Management Assistance1979-1989No
Emergency Management and Assistance1990--No
45Public Welfare1938--No
48Territories and Insular Possessions1938-1957Yes
Trade Agreements and Adjustment Assistance Programs1964-1968No
Federal Acquisition Regulation System1984-1989No
Federal Acquisition Regulations System1990--No
49Transportation and Railroads1938-1948related
Wildlife and Fisheries1961--No
TitleSubject Matter of TitleYears so utilizedsame subject as numbered U.S. CODE Title?

Modified .