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Sources of American Law. U.S. Government Chapter 15 Section 1. We have laws because _________________ 1. 2. 3. Because we have laws _________________ 1. 2. 3. Warm Up. Law Constitutional Law Statute Ordinance Statutory Law Administrative Law Common Law Equity

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Sources of american law

Sources of American Law

U.S. Government

Chapter 15 Section 1

Warm up

  • We have laws because _________________




  • Because we have laws _________________




Warm Up

Key terms select 3

  • Law

  • Constitutional Law

  • Statute

  • Ordinance

  • Statutory Law

  • Administrative Law

  • Common Law

  • Equity

  • Due Process

  • Substantive Due Process

  • Procedural Due Process

  • Adversary System

  • Presumed Innocence

Key Terms: Select 3

Read page 423 424 427

Sources of American Law page 423

Constitutional Law page 424

Legal Principles page 427

Read: Page 423 /424/427

Early systems of law

Code of Hammurabi

Ten Commandments

Early Systems of Law

Constitutional law

  • States have their own constitutions- they set forth rights not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

    • State Courts decide cases involving state constitutions

    • If state constitutions violate the U.S. Constitution, the rulings can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Constitutional Law- the branch of law dealing with the formation, construction, and interpretations of constitutions.

    • Constitutional law cases decide the limits of government’s power and rights of the individual

    • Constitutional law cases may deal with civil law or criminal law.

Constitutional Law

Statutory law

  • A Statute is a law written by a legislative branch of government.

    • Statutes passed by city councils are ordinances

  • Statutes may limit citizen’s behavior:

    • Speed limits, food inspecting rules, minimum age to work etc.

  • Statutory Law (“Roman Law”) is based on an approach to making laws derived from ancient Romans.

    • Justinian Code- simplified all the laws into a final Roman Legal Code.

  • Many decisions of Federal Courts deal with statutory law

Statutory Law

Administrative law

  • Administrative law government. spells out the authority and procedures to be followed by administrative agencies.

    • Administrative agencies run government programs and provide services.

    • Ex: Social Security Administration

  • Administrative law cases deal with problems of fairness and due process

    • Most administrative agencies regulate people’s behavior or provide/deny government benefits.

Administrative Law

Common law

  • Common law government. is law made by judges in the process of resolving individual cases.

    • Most important basis of the American legal system

    • Decisions are recorded so if there is a similar case, the judges follow the earlier ruling “precedent”

    • In unique cases, judges make their own rulings based on common sense and prevailing customs.

  • Common law in America comes from English common law

Common Law


  • Equity government. is a system of rules by which disputes are resolved on the grounds of fairness.

    • Rival to common law

    • Equity court could require an action beyond payment of money or stop a wrong before it occurred.

  • In nineteenth century America equity and common law merged

  • Today a single court can administer both systems


Legal system principles

  • Equal Justice Under the Law government. : the goal of the American court system to treat all persons alike.

  • Due Process of Law:

    • Substantive due process: shorthand for certain rights given, some that are specified in the Constitution and some that are not specified

    • Procedural due process: the way a law is administered, prohibits arbitrary enforcement of the law.

      • notice to a person that he/she has done something wrong.

      • giving the affected person the right to respond or be heard concerning the accusation of wrongdoing.

Legal System Principles

Legal system principles1

3. government. The Adversary System: the courtroom is like an arena in which lawyers for the opposing sides try to present their strongest cases.

  • Lawyer for each side is generally expected to do all that is legally permissible to advance the cause of their client.

    4. Presumption of Innocence: notion that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty

  • Not mentioned in the Constitution but is in our legal heritage

  • Prosecution has burden of proof: unless the prosecution succeeds in proving the accusation, the court must declare the defendant not guilty.

Legal System Principles

Homework sec 1 page 428 monday night finish reading section answer 1 and 4

#1 government.


Page 426 “The Law And You”

Write/Explain a brief situation (Criminal or Civil) for which you might need a lawyer?

List 5 questions you would ask your attorney regarding your legal problem.

Page 429 Supreme “Court Cases to Debate”




And answer “You Be The Judge”

Homework Sec. 1 page 428 Monday night finish reading section answer # 1 and 4