Sources Of Law Essay

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Sources of Law Stephanie Wichgers 11/14/2011 There are Primary and Secondary sources of law; and there are Federal and State sources. Primary means that the sources are, in appropriate circumstances, binding or determinative of the outcome of a legal dispute. Secondary means they are not binding, but merely viewpoints of writers or research aids. Primary Sources of Federal and State Law I. CONSTITUTIONS: C Constitutions are government charters. C They create and empower the various branches of government. C In addition, they establish the rights and obligations of persons under the Jurisdiction of the government. U.S. CONSTITUTION. C Establishes the federal government. C And it establishes the limitations on both state and federal action – no state or federal law shall contravene the U.S. Constitution. C i.e., it is the “supreme law of the land.” C It establishes the three (3) branches of federal government: (1) Legislative...the House of Representatives and the Senate, with the power to pass laws. (2) Executive...President to agree to the laws passed and to carry them out, with the aid of other administrative personnel. (3) Judicial...Creates the Supreme Court and authorizes Congress to create the lower federal courts, which it did in the Judiciary Act of 1789. Examples: When Decisions Are Mandatory Whether a decision of a particular court is mandatory, whether it must be followed by another court, depends on the source of the decision. As a general rule, the decisions of a court will be mandatory authority for any court lower in the hierarchy. Decisions from a court lower than the one in question are never mandatory. Federal Courts United States Supreme Court--The decisions of the United States Supreme Court are mandatory authority in all courts, federal and state, when the decisions cover points of federal law.

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