Wondering if code numbers such as 31 U.S. Code § 5330 ever get revised.

So one day it is like this:

Title 31 › Subtitle IV › Chapter 53 › Subchapter II › § 5330 › (a) › 1

And the next day it becomes:

Title 35 › Subtitle I › Chapter 10 › Subchapter II › § 5330 › (a) › 3

That is, they either shift it around like that, or they adjust the local position like this:

Title 31 › Subtitle IV › Chapter 53 › Subchapter II › § 5330 › (b) › 3

Or if it can never change because there is no concept of "versions" of the code (I'm not sure).

  • Please write your questions using complete English. Please do not use codeblock for content that is not actual code; use quoteblock for quoted content or emphasis/strong emphasis if appropriate.
    – user4657
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


The US Code can be reorganized. This page gives details of the structure of the US Code. As an example or renumbering, current 42 USC 5186 was first created as section 416 of Public Law 93-288, and 42 USC 5183 was enacted as section 413. Public Law 100-707 enacted various renumberings, so section 416 of the act was redesignated section 419, and section 413 was redesignated section 416. It is useful to know of the distinction between positive law titles and non-positive law titles. Some titles in the US Code are themselves federal statutes (positive law titles), and some are editorial compilations (non-positive law title). Title 10 (Armed Forces) was directly created by act of Congress, and Title 42 (The Public Health and Welfare) results from many specific acts. Non-positive law titles are prima facie evidence of the law, and positive law titles are legal evidence of the law – the difference rests in how authoritative one is vs. the other. Generally, it doesn't matter, unless there is an error in compiling a statute into the code (which has happened: US Nat. Bank of Ore. v. Independent Ins. Agents of America, 508 U.S. 439).

  • Nice! Wondering what happens when some source references an old version of the code, how not to get it messed up what they originally meant.
    – Lance
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 17:43
  • 1
    You would look at the publication date and check what the numbering was at that time (assuming you mean that the source was referring to the "current" code). Code reorganization is carefully tracked by the compilers, so it's not too challenging, except that it can be a nuisance to locate the original text without access to Westlaw.
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 17:51
  • @LancePollard changes of all sorts are described in the notes. The Cornell site presents these on a separate tab.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 5:46
  • See also law.stackexchange.com/questions/16673/… with answers about the general struture of the U.S. Code and the opportunity of a reorganization.
    – Seb35
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 14:11

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