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Law Library News

United States Code and editorial changes to the SCRA

Posted by Joan Bellistri on May 4, 2018

I recently had an attorney looking for a section of the Service Members Civil Relief Act in the United States Code on Westlaw.  The citation was for 50 U.S.C. App. §521 and the results indicated that the section had a new spot in the U.S.C. at 50 U.S.C. 3931.  When this change took place is not included in the history of the section, but there is a note indicating that the “section was formerly classified to section 521 of the Appendix to Title 50.”

The Justice Department sheds some light on the date of the change on their information page on the Service Members Civil Relief Act:

The location of the SCRA within the United States Code changed in late 2015.  Previously found at (codified and cited as) 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-597b, there was an editorial reclassification of the SCRA by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives that became effective on December 1, 2015.  The SCRA is now found at (codified as) 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel’s page on Editorial Reclassification explains the process of reclassification:

In order to maintain and improve the United States Code, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel must occasionally undertake editorial reclassification projects to reorganize areas of law that have outgrown their original boundaries, or to eliminate organizational units that are no longer efficient. No statutory text is altered by such editorial reclassification projects, other than necessary updates to references to reflect the reorganization. Relevant provisions are merely transferred from one place to another in the Code.

This page includes links to information about recent editorial reclassification projects. The link to Title 50 Appendix indicates that  “the reorganization occurred on December 1, 2015, after which the new Code citations were effective.” 

These reclassifications only move the sections and do not result in changes to the law other than references to the revised sections.  Still, it is nice to know when the change took place.

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