Chapter One: Our Laws. Lessons: 1-1 Our Laws & Legal System 1-2 Types of Laws

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1 Chapter One: Our Laws Lessons: 1-1 Our Laws & Legal System 1-2 Types of Laws

2 Lesson 1-2 Goals Explain how constitutional, statutory, case and administrative laws are created Explain how to resolve conflicts between constitutional, statutory, case and administrative laws Describe the differences between criminal and civil, substantive and procedural, and business and other forms of law

3 Focus Make a list of laws or rules the school enforces. Then, make a second list of laws or rules they must live by in their families. Discuss how each of these laws affects their lives. What laws would you change? Why and how would changing them affect you, your family or your school?

4 What s your verdict? Congress requires cigarette makers to print these words on every cigarette package: Warning: the Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health. What type of law requires this?

5 What are the sources of our laws? Constitutions- Government s framework and relationships to the people; governed by both the US Constitution and state constitution; define and allocate certain powers in our society Statutes- legislature-enacted laws Administrative Regulationsgovernment bodies formed to carry our laws Cases- created by judicial branch; made from appeals to higher court

6 Constitutions When constitutions are adopted or changed, or when courts interpret constitutions, constitutional law is made. Constitutions exist to define and assign power in societies, dividing power 3 ways: (1) between the people & their government (2) between state & federal governments (3) among branches of government

7 Allocation of power between people & government The Constitution is the main source of allocation of power- mainly with the first 10 amendments (Bill of Rights). The Bill of Rights protects people from actions of their governments.

8 Allocation of power between federal & state governments The Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate both foreign and interstate commerce (crimes that affect two or more states). Intrastate commerce is the power given to states to govern themselves.

9 Allocation of power among the branches of government Both state & federal constitutions divide power among the 3 branches of government- executive, legislative, & judicial. Why? (checks & balances)

10 statutes Laws enacted by state or federal legislatures. Laws enacted by local governments (towns, cities, & counties) are called ordinances, but are only enforceable within that area.

11 Administrative regulations Administrative Agencies are governmental bodies formed to carry out particular laws. They are controlled by the executive branch (President, governor or mayor). Some times, administrative agencies are given legislative and limited judicial powers (Social Security Administration might establish rules and hold their own hearings.)

12 Cases The judicial branch creates case lawlaws made when an appellate (court of appeals) court endorses a rule to be used in deciding cases. Stare Decisis- a doctrine that requires lower courts to follow existing case law in deciding similar cases.

13 How stare decisis works Carol borrowed her stepfather s car without his express permission. The police stopped her, discovered the car was not registered in her name, then phoned her stepfather. When he said he did not know where his car was, Carol was arrested. At her trial, Carol and her stepfather testified that she had his permission to use the car without asking each time. The trial judge nevertheless found Carol guilty of auto theft, which, the judge stated, occurs when one person takes the car of another without express permission. Carol appealed to the state supreme court. That appellate court issued an opinion stating implied permission is enough, and therefore, Carol was innocent. This rule then became state case law. The same supreme court could rule in a later but similar case that implied permission is not enough.

14 What s your verdict? When adopted, the US Constitution provided that there could be no income tax. So when Congress levied a 2% income tax in 1894, the US Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Many people wanted the federal government to raise money by taxing incomes because the burden imposed would be based on one s ability to pay. 1) What can people do to change a decision made by the Supreme Court? 2) How would you define the term amend?

15 What happens when laws conflict? Constitutions are the highest source of lawthey trump everything. If a state makes a law that is in conflict with the US Constitution, is is invalid and declared unconstitutional.

16 Statutes & validity Statutes or ordinances cannot exceed the powers delegated to local governments. Courts determine the constitutionality of statutes and ordinances & make sure they are not overstepping their power. For example A city enacted a city law making it illegal to sell gasoline for more than $1 per gallon. It enacted another law making the death penalty mandatory for persons who commit murder within the city limits. Both ordinances were challenged in court. The 1st was invalid because it conflicted with the federal constitution, which regulates commerce. The 2nd was invalid because only the stat has the power to set penalties for murder.

17 Administrative regulations & validity Administrative regulations can also be reviewed by courts to determine whether they are constitutional

18 Case law & validity Courts are not the final authority. Why? (1) the legislative body can nullify a court s interpretation of a law (2) people, through votes they cast for their representatives, have the power to amend constitutions if they disagree with a court s decision. In the last What s Your Verdict - slide #14- the 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to lay and collect income tax, changing the law & nullifying the Supreme Court decision.

19 What are the main types of laws? Laws can be classified in various ways. Common types of laws include: - civil laws - criminal laws - procedural laws - substantive laws - business law

20 What s your verdict? Worthington was driving down the road well within the speed limit. At a stop sign he slowed down to about 15 miles per hour, but did not stop. As a result, he smashed into the side of Bates Mercedes, causing $12,000 in damage. Did Worthington violate civil or criminal law?

21 Criminal vs. civil laws Civil laws- group of laws used to provide remedy for wrongs against individuals ; applies when one person has a right to sue another person. Crime- an offense against society. Criminal laws- group of laws that defines and sets punishments for offenses against society.

22 Conviction of a crime can result in a fine, imprisonment, and in some states, execution. Usually when a crime occurs, private rights of the victim may be both a crime and a civil offense; some times, the victim of the crime may sue the wrongdoer. In the last What s Your Verdict - slide #20- Worthington committed both a crime and a civil offense. He would get a fine for failing to yield at a stop sign- criminal. He would also be responsible for the damages to the Mercedes- civil.

23 Procedural vs. substantive laws Procedural law- group of laws that define the methods for enforcing legal rights and duties (ex- stare decisis.) Substantive law- group of laws that defines rights and duties (ex- defines acts like murder, theft, vehicular homicide, breach of contract, and negligence.)

24 Types of procedural law Criminal procedure- defines the process for enforcing the law when someone is charged with a crime. Civil procedure- used when a civil law has been violated; concerned with only the private offenses.

25 Business law Business law- group of laws that governs business situations and transactions. This type of law is largely concerned with civil law- especially with contracts. Torts- private or civil wrong for which the law grants a remedy (ex- defective products that injure people.) UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)- widely adopted business laws governing sales of goods, certain aspects of banking and leases of goods for businesses.

26 Think about legal concepts 1. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are known as. 2. An offense that violates the right of citizens to live in peace is governed by (a) administrative law, (b) constitutional law, (c) criminal law, or (d) common law. 3. Legislative enactments at the local level are called. 4. Stare decisis is the doctrine that requires lower courts to adhere to existing case law in their decisions. True or False?

27 5) Torts are private wrongs committed against individuals or organizations. True or false? 6) As long as they are constitutionally valid, the laws of the various states (a) do, (b) don not have to be alike. 7) Business activities are at times governed by the criminal law. True or False? 8) Businesses cannot commit torts. True or false? 9) The doctrine of stare decisis is a (a) substantive law, (b) procedural law, (c) prohibitive law, or (d) none of the above.

28 Think critically about evidence 10) Suppose the principal of your public school required all students to recite a prayer at the start of each school day. What level of government (federal, state, or local) is most likely to rule against such action? 11) From #10, what type of law (constitutional, statutory, administrative, or case) requires such a ruling? 12) Sonoma County passed a law making it legal to drive 75 mph on freeways inside the county. A state law limited all vehicles anywhere in the state to 70 mph. What is the valid speed limit on freeways inside this county?

29 13) On a two-week vacation in a neighboring state, you buy several large firecrackers and take them home. A police officer notices them in your car on a routine traffic stop. She cites you for possession of an illegal explosive device, which is a felony in your state. Will the fact that possession of fireworks in the neighboring stat is not even a crime be a defense for you? Why or why not?

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