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What is the meaning of "The Law" ?
No Comprehensive way to define "The Law"
Set of Conglomerate of all laws in all the jurisdictions, consitutions, statutes and regulations
Legal process in which laws are made, enforced and interpreted.
What are Statutes?
Written laws enacted by legislatures at any level of government
What are Constitutions?
Constitutions are Written legal documents establishing governments
What are Regulations?
Regulations are Effectively part of a statute and have the full force of law once enacted by a deignated agency according to a specific process.
What are Judicial Opinions
Described as both interpretations of laws and laws in and of themselves.
i.e. Supreme Court decisions become law for other courts
The Legal System – Three Branches
Legislative: Branch that makes the law
Executive: Branch that enforces the law
Judicial: Branch that interprets the law
Two Separate Judicial Systems in the U.S.
: U. S. District Courts, federal trial courts, the 12 U.S
. circuit court of appeals, intermediate-level federal appellate courts, and the U. S. Supreme Court which is the supreme appellate court of the legal system
- StateCourts:Appellate– Supreme appellate court and intermediate appellate courts (hear appeals from
- state trial courts)
- Trial Level – Hear all cases first, hear oral testimony, take evidence, and interpret
- the law as it applies to the facts established by the evidence
The Focus of Law: Legal Rights
Function of the Law: Establish Legal Rights
Legal System: Define and Enforce Legal Rights
First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution
- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
- religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
- speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and
- to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The first amendmenthas been extended to apply to state and local governments as well as the federal government activity after a century of judicial controversy and a liberal reading of the 14th Amendment, and has real meaning today
Federal Constitutional Authority
Basic definition of the powers of government (federal orstate level) is derived from the constitutions that underlie their framework
U.S. Constitution sets out the enumerated powers of the federal government
All powers not explicitly granted by the federal Constitution are retained by the state governments or the people themselves
Federal Constitutional Authority Continued
The states are the primary source of government power in the U.S.
Only through the collective agreement of the Constitution that a federal government with higher authority was created
States gave up their power reluctantly and carefully
The Constitution clearly enumerates those powers ceded to the federal government
T or F
Explicit provision of the 10th Amendment
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.” (See page 18.)
So, any federal government activity must be
justified in terms of one of the enumerated powers of the Constitution
T or F
State Constitutional Authority
State governments have extremely broad, inherent powers to act, and these rights or powers are not limited to the exercise of those powers explicitly defined by the state of federal constitutions
Under the American legal system, the state governments may exercise all powers traditionally inherent in government itself
- A state’s powers to govern, known generally as police powers, have proven difficult to
- delineate specifically
Courts have added some specificity, defining the police powers inherent in the state to prescribe, within the limits of the state and federal constitutions, reasonable laws necessary to preserve order and the public’s health, safety, welfare, and morals
- Throughout the years, there have become almost endless ways in which states have chosen to exercise their police powers in matters relating to health or health care with
- courts justifying them as proper exercises of state authority as providing for the public’s health, safety, welfare, or morals