Above is a movie displaying Title 16 (Conservation) a subset of the content contained within the United States Code. At more than 2,400 pages (download it here), Title 16 is one of the larger titles in the US Code. Yet, it is not the largest. For example, Title 26 (Internal Revenue Code) and Title 42 (Public Health and Welfare) are far larger than the object displayed above.
Now, you might be wondering why we chose to generate this movie. We envisioned at least two purposes.
(1) The title of this blog is Computational Legal Studies. One of our major goals to either develop or apply tools that scale to life in the era of Big Data. Given the scope of an object such as the United States Code, it is is clear that a significant class of potential analysis cannot reasonably be undertaken without the use of computational tools. Thus, with respect to developing new insights, we believe computational linguistics, information theory, applied graph theory can be of great use. For those interested, our new paper entitled A Mathematical Approach to the Study of the United States Code offers our initial exploration of the possibilities.
(2) We believe this movie can be a meaningful pedagogical device. Many students enter law school and are dismayed when even in statutory based classes they are not exclusively reviewing the black letter law. Given the scope of this and other large bodies of documents, any model of legal education cannot be exclusively be dedicated to teaching black letter law. Instead, such training is appropriately devoted to a mixture of existing legal rules as well as the development of information acquisition protocols that train students to navigate the relevant landscape.