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The Congressional Short Title (R)Evolution: Changing the Face of America's Public Laws
Kentucky Law Journal Online (2013)
  • Brian Christopher Jones, Academia Sinica
In order to show how Congressional short titles have evolved throughout the years, a targeted quantitative study was performed on Acts from the 93rd – 111th Congress (1973 – 2011). The results demonstrate that such titles did not merely evolve, but in fact there was a short title revolution in Congress. The major findings from the article indicate that: short title use has become much more popular; Acts on name changing in the US Congress have increased dramatically; average short title word length has increased; the number and prevalence of “personalized” bill titles has increased; the number of short titles employing acronyms has increased; the number of evocative words used throughout the period studied has increased; and the number of descriptive, technical words has noticeably decreased throughout the time period studied. Further, evocative words such as “modernize”, “freedom” and “America” have become more fashionable, while traditionally technical, legal words such as “amend” and “appropriation” have become less so. The data was analyzed using statistical techniques showing that many of the changes in short titles are highly significant. Ultimately, this article demonstrates that the face of America’s Public Laws has undergone a radical shift over the past four decades.
  • short titles,
  • bills,
  • acts,
  • Congress,
  • drafting,
  • public law
Publication Date
Winter January, 2013
Citation Information
Brian Christopher Jones. "The Congressional Short Title (R)Evolution: Changing the Face of America's Public Laws" Kentucky Law Journal Online Vol. 101 (2013)
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