Essay Paper on Law of the United States
Law affects every aspect of American life. States have delegated lawmaking powers to a staggering number of agencies, counties, cities, and special districts. All the state constitutions, statutes and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation like their federal counterparts. Thus, at any given time, the average American citizen is subject to the rules and regulations of several dozen different agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, depending upon one’s current location and behavior.
Law of the United States and most Commonwealth countries are heirs to the common law and legal tradition of English law, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War. However, the supreme law of the land is the United States Constitution. In addition, the United States circumscribing the boundaries of the jurisdiction of federal law and the laws in the fifty U.S. states and territories, the law is derived from four sources. These four sources are constitutional law, administrative law, statutes, and the common law. The most important source of law is the United States Constitution. No law may contradict the United States Constitution. A small number of important British statutes in effect at the time of the Revolution have been independently enacted in nearly identical form by U.S. states. Most of the important statutes are the Statute of Frauds and the Statute of 13 Elizabeth. Such English statutes are still regularly cited in contemporary legal writings about their modern American descendants. Although the courts of the various Commonwealth nations are often influenced by each other’s rulings, American courts rarely follow post-Revolution Commonwealth rulings unless there is no American ruling on point, the facts and law at issue are nearly identical, and the reasoning is strongly persuasive.
Today, the vast majority of American legal citations are to domestic cases. Sometimes, courts, and casebook editors, do make exceptions for opinions on issues of first impression by brilliant British jurists. Although at the earliest American cases, even after the Revolution, often did cite contemporary British cases, but such citations gradually disappeared during the 19th century as American courts developed their own principles to resolve the legal problems of the American people.
Federal law in the United States originates with the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to enact statutes for certain limited purposes like regulating commerce .Nearly all states started with the same British common law base, but the passage of time has resulted in enormous diversity in the laws of the states. The fifty American states are separate sovereigns with their own constitutions and retain plenary power to make laws covering anything not preempted by the federal Constitution or federal statutes. All American states have codified some or all of their statutory law into legal codes. Codification was an idea borrowed from the civil law. Though, some of the other states called Codes such terms as “Revised Statutes” or “Compiled Statutes” for their codes. On the other side, California, New York, and Texas have separate subject-specific codes, while all other states and the federal government use a single code divided into numbered titles. In some states, codification is often treated as a mere restatement of the common law. Judges are free to liberally interpret the codes unless and until their interpretations are specifically overridden by the legislature. In other states, there is a tradition of strict adherence to the plain text of the codes. Where the benefit of the codification is that once the state legislature becomes accustomed to writing new laws as amendments to an existing code, where often reflect democratic sentiment as to what the current law is. Jurisdictions with uncodified statutes, like the United Kingdom, determining what the law is can be a more difficult process. For example, when the UK decided to create a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, lawmakers had to identify every single Act referring to the House of Lords that was still good law, and then amend all of those laws to refer to the Supreme Court…
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