CRS Reports

Posted on May 16, 2012 by

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Have you ever wondered how a congressman with little or no background in science or military matters can speak so intelligently on these topics during interviews or debates in Congress?  Part of it may be that they have a good speech writer or congressional staff.  Another reason may be that they have read a CRS Report on that topic.

CRS Reports are produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a department within the Library of Congress.  The CRS writes reports that provide policy and legal analysis for members of Congress.  Usually they tackle complex topics and attempt to examine the issue from all sides.

The CRS was originally called the Legislative Reference Service when it was created through legislation in 1914.  Further legislation in 1970 changed its name to Congressional Research Service and expanded its obligations to Congress.  Now each of the reports produced by the CRS are a direct result of congressional directives and guidance.

CRS Reports are perfect for anyone researching a topic of congressional importance because they provide a concise overview of the topic with references to primary authority.  The great thing for law students is that CRS Reports are public information.  The caveat with that though is there is no centralized website where the public can access these reports.  Luckily for you though,  I have included a few places below where you can access CRS Reports and find information about the Congressional Research Service:

So the next time you are trying to impress your friends, dominate trivia night, or start your research paper, give CRS Reports a try.

Posted in: GSU Law Library