Intelligence Law School - Course 1: Lesson 4.2.2 Public Laws vs. Private Laws

««« Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson »»»


4.2 Enactment and Publication of Federal Statutes

4.2.2 Public Laws vs. Private Laws

Lecture Audio

Annotated Lecture Transcript

4.2.2 Public Laws vs. Private Laws

Okay, so I probably have to explain the difference between Public Laws and Private Laws really quickly because that might be confusing.

Laws enacted pursuant to the constitutional procedures set out in Article I Section 7 can be either public laws or private laws.[1]

Public Laws are the only laws we’re going to be dealing with in this course and all of the U.S. intelligence law courses.

Public Laws are laws that apply generally to the whole country.

Private Laws, on the other hand, are special laws passed by Congress which affect just one person.

Private laws are passed to do things like pay compensation to a person who is not eligible for payment under the ordinary public laws. 

Public Laws are what we’re focused on in U.S. intelligence law.



[1] See Cassandra L. Foley, Congressional Research Serv., Federal Statutes: What They Are and Where to Find Them (2009), available at (“When a piece of legislation is enacted under the procedures set forth in Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution, it is characterized as a “public law” or a “private law.” Each new statute is assigned a number according to its order of enactment within a particular Congress (e.g., the 10th public law enacted in the 109th Congress was numbered as P.L. 109-10; the 10th private law was numbered Private Law 109-10). Private laws are enacted for the benefit of a named individual or entity (e.g., due to exceptional individual circumstances, Congress enacts a law providing a government reimbursement to a named person who would not otherwise be eligible under general law). In contrast, public laws are of general applicability and permanent and continuing in nature. Public laws form the basis of the Code. All other laws must be researched in the slip laws/Statutes at Large format.”).


© 2012 David Alan Jordan. All rights reserved.