Legal Components, Legalization, And Sources Of Law

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LEGAL CITATION & SOURCES OF LAW Introduction. Laws provide an official set of rules that guide the way people act within a society (Friedman, 2005). It is the common framework of how citizens live their lives on a daily basis. Below is an introduction to reading legal citations, sources of law, and how laws are created. Legal Citation Elements. A legal citation has several cohesive elements that make up a particular case for organization and library research purposes. If properly understood, any individual may be able to locate a specific legal material by following the standard legal citation format in a law library. A typical legal citation will include the names of each party involved in the case, the volume number of the full report, …show more content…
Considered a type of hierarchy (Barken et al., 2009), the U.S. law system is made up of four sources of law, with state and federal written constitutions rounding the top. Next in line are statutes, which are the bills and laws written and enacted by Congress or a state 's legislative body. If a statute is passed at the federal level, national concern is addressed. Conversely, statutes passed at the state level involve particular issues within each state. Administrative law sits third in the hierarchy. State or federal agencies can create regulations specific to an area of knowledge which include a certain set of rules for settling disputes or cases. Each agency has their own administrative law judge with particular knowledge of the assigned agency. Examples of these agencies are the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission. The last source of law in this hierarchy is judicial law, or common law, which possesses limited authority in policy making. Most importantly, judicial law is responsible for resolving disputes in court with the interpretation of law created by the other …show more content…
Laws are uniquely created at each level of the source of law hierarchy. At the state and federal written constitution level, laws are created in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, which defines the basic rights of American citizens. These laws cannot be changed, only interpreted. States also create their own laws but only as it relates and abides by the Constitution. Statutory law is collected and systematically organized by a legislative body, and published into a set called a code (Ponzetto & Fernandez, 2008). Statutes are passed through the Congress at the federal level, and state legislatives at the state level. At the administrative level, specific agencies create rules and regulations pertaining to a area of expertise. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services played a major role in enacting and implementing the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Lastly, common law is instituted within the court system. When a judge decides on a case, he/she interprets the law(s) created by the other sources of the law. Judges establish a precedent when a case is decided, inferring that ensuing cases must follow suit. This is also known as case law and is determined by judicial

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