DOJ's Compiled Legislative Histories
Legislative history research can be a painstaking process. Finding the various bills, committee reports, hearings, and debates can make any researcher's head spin - especially for more antiquated laws that were passed before most of this information was uploaded on Congress.gov (Thomas.gov's successor). For older laws, it may even mean getting into microfiche.
The good news is that there are sources of compiled legislative history that bring this information together for you in one place. As we teach our students, if you are lucky enough to find a source of compiled legislative history, there is no need to recreate the wheel.
The United States Department of Justice has a website devoted to legislative histories compiled by DOJ staff.
From the website:
"The following are legislative histories that were compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Library Staff throughout the years. These legislative histories were originally researched, collected and bound as paper volumes by DOJ librarians and made available only to DOJ employees through the Department's Main Library collection. Today, they have been digitized and are now available for general use. The legislative histories are composed of the most important components for the law documented in each legislative history which may include some, or all, of the following: the U.S. Public Law; House and Senate Documents; House, Senate, and Conference Reports; House and Senate Committee Hearings; Congressional Debates (Congressional Record); related Bills; and Presidential Signing Statements."
This DOJ resource is a great collection of about 30 compiled legislative histories for laws ranging from the Administrative Procedure Act to the War Crimes Act of 1996.