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How many federal laws are there?

So many, that lawyers and academics gave up trying to count them.

12 Responses to “How many federal laws are there?”

  1. wfgodbold Says:

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse!

  2. Robb Allen Says:

    wfgodbold, true but sadly “Ignorance is an excuse to make laws” seems to be the rule.

  3. Ted N(not the Nuge) Says:

    50 volume, 23,000 pages, and I’ll bet that doesn’t even start on the regulatory BS. Amazing.

  4. John Smith. Says:

    Sounds like a good way to beat traffic court cases. The Cops wherever I go seem to like the old ignorance is no excuse excuse… However when you stack 10-12 books 2.5 feet high on a desk and tell the jurors they have no excuse to not know this half of the law I imagine that would work rather well…

  5. Kristopher Says:

    The numbers have become so high, that for the first time in 2000 years of classical western jurisprudence, US federal judges are actually allowing ignorance of the law as an ameliorating excuse.

  6. Chas Says:

    We need to send Congress into space.

  7. wfgodbold Says:

    The most infuriating bit about the “ignorance is no excuse” line is that whenever the police screw up because they didn’t know something, they play the exact same card and it works.

    If ignorance is no excuse for Joe Blow on the street, then by God it had better not be an excuse for the guys Joe Blow pays to enforce the damn laws.

  8. Ron W Says:

    “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.” — Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (56-117) Roman orator, lawyer, senator and historian

  9. JKB Says:

    Compare to an article I read from 1887, where the author states he’s just spent the last couple years study and comparison of all the Statute books in the United States.

  10. comatus Says:

    Tacitus said it, Ron W quoted it, I believe it, and that about settles it, save to say: Tacitus could say that in just six words. Scrappy little language, Latin. Terse.

    I can’t top it, won’t try, but here’s an aside: In the 7/29 Wall St Jrnl, Prof R Michael Cassidy of Boston College Law School writes, “”What you fail to discuss is the prosecutorial discretion imbedded in our criminal justice system. Not every violation of criminal law brought to the attention of law enforceement authorities results in indictment.”

    That was meant to make you feel better. I bet Tacitus would recognize that attitude–and say it in fewer words.

  11. BobG Says:

    My dad always had the belief that there should be a set number of laws, and any time you wanted a new one you had to find one to repeal; that way you would tend to not pass laws without a “damn good reason”, as he put it.

    There are some times when I think he may have had a good idea there.

  12. Ron W Says:


    I’ve thouight that too. Congress and our State Legislature should devote whole sessions to only REPEAL.