To start off, I am only a high school student helping a friend of mine with a little predicament. She has asked me to research about the Congressional history and the legislative intent of a statute: 18 USC 1832.

From what she has mentioned, when Congress passes something and makes it a law, there's some "intent" at the time. This intent may change from time to time resulting the law getting modified. She wants to know how the law has evolved since 1996.

Specifically, she wants to know if an "extraterritorial jurisdiction" clause is present in the statute, and if so, when and how Congress passed it?

I have no clue what any of this means, can anybody help me? It would be great if you could give us some ideas or direct me to a good reference spot to find this answer.

This is rather urgent so if anybody could help me out here, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    This kind of sounds like a request to do your homework for you, so perhaps you can give some info about what you know and what you have already done to investigate this. First of all, the United States Code is indexed by title and section number. I assume 1832 is the section number, but you also need to give the title number or it's ambiguous. For instance, Title 12 and Title 18 each have a section 1832 (which would be notated as 12 USC 1832 or 18 USC 1832 respectively). Or perhaps you mean 18 USC 32? Nov 14, 2017 at 17:40
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    Also, sites such as law.cornell.edu/uscode have a list of references at the end of each USC section showing the specific acts of Congress that created or amended the law. Nov 14, 2017 at 17:42
  • @NateEldredge see yeah that's the thing. I have no idea what any of this means. I know it sounds like I'm too lazy to do work, however I scoured the internet of different websites and have emailed multiple people who may have this information, but still to no avail. Thanks for the suggestion though.
    – user14142
    Nov 14, 2017 at 17:49
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    Please edit the question to add this information. However, I'm afraid that your question may be too vague for anyone to be able to help very much. If this is really for a friend, you may want to give her the address of this site and suggest that she ask her question here directly, since she might be in a better position to ask a clear question and respond to requests for clarification. Nov 14, 2017 at 18:23
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    So as I suggested before, if you go to law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1832, there are links at the bottom of the page for acts of Congress which have amended the law. Note that these amendments are already incorporated in the text of 18 USC 1832, so it really does describe the law as currently in force. Nov 14, 2017 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


The current law as encoded in 18 USC 1832 is the result of Pub. L. 104–294 Title I passed in 1996, then amended in 2012 and again in 2016. Legislative intent is irrelevant to the question of extraterritorial jurisdiction. In Morrison v. Nat. Australia Bank, 561 U.S. 247 (and prior decisions), the court held that

It is a “longstanding principle of American law ‘that legislation of Congress, unless a contrary intent appears, is meant to apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.’...

Thus, “unless there is the affirmative intention of the Congress clearly expressed” to give a statute extraterritorial effect, “we must presume it is primarily concerned with domestic conditions.”

The court specifically rejected attempts by lower courts to invent such a clause (which does not exist in the actual statute), based on legislative hints (e.g. committee reports, from when the law / amendment was passed).

While the language of 18 USC 1832 does not say anything about extraterritoriality, 18 USC 1837 does: it says specifically

This chapter also applies to conduct occurring outside the United States if—

(1) the offender is a natural person who is a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States, or an organization organized under the laws of the United States or a State or political subdivision thereof; or

(2) an act in furtherance of the offense was committed in the United States.

(If you look at the original law, ch. 90 is composed of sections 1831-1839, and this is reflected in the header "chapter 90" in the Cornell website). This was in the original law, and has not been amended.

  • 1
    It might be worth noting explicitly that sections 1832 and 1837 are in the same chapter, both being part of chapter 90.
    – phoog
    Nov 14, 2017 at 20:38
  • Thank you so much! This seems like quite alot of information I can pass on. We really appreciate it!
    – user14142
    Nov 14, 2017 at 20:50
  • It is possible given the public law number that you want to research to locate documentation of all hearings held on the bill, all committee notes in both houses of Congress, all floor debate on the bills, and all signing statements of the President upon signing it. This takes rather high end library resources not available at a typical branch library or even in every public library system. It is normally a task reserved for graduate students or legal or library science or political science professionals. The quick and dirty alternative is to Google the name of the bill and/or its bill number.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 16, 2017 at 1:14

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