How can I find the motivation behind the sponsors of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003? I've scoured money trails, committee memberships, events in their districts, and issues in...

How can I find the motivation behind the sponsors of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003? I've scoured money trails, committee memberships, events in their districts, and issues in the congressional elections, and have come up completely empty!

Expert Answers
aheicklen10 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you have a Westlaw account or know someone who will let you borrow theirs you might be successful in finding what you are looking for.  A local public library or a law school library is another good place to ask for permission to use their Westlaw account.  If you have any friends in law school, law students get free accounts with Westlaw and/or Lexis Nexis.  

I went to law school and many times when I was doing legal research for the purposes of interpreting a statute, simply reading the cases interpreting the statute wasn't enough, especially with newer statutes that had not yet been the subject of litigation.  WestlawNext allows you to research legislative history, which often contains meeting minutes of legislative bodies.  Their debate and discussion when they were creating the law can be very helpful in discerning its intent or motivation.  Although it is not binding precedent, many attorneys will refer to legislative history of a law in order to persuade the court that a certain interpretation of the law is correct and judges will often consider the "legislative intent" (e.g., the motivation) when making their ruling.

Hope this helps!