Test1Notes[1] - Week 1 Lecture Notes Chapter I and part of...

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Week 1 Lecture Notes, Chapter I, and part of Chapter 2 This first week, we’ll be exploring basic background information about the American legal system. I am not going to provide any additional lecture notes about the historical perspective of our law, provided in pp.2-4 of your text, but it’s important to understand that historically, we’ve had different approaches to the law over the last few centuries, which have affected the law as we know it, today, as well as how laws affect how we conduct our business. We’ll also further explore ethics and business decision-making later in the course. For now, we need to figure out where we get our current laws. To do that, we’ll need to dig back (for some of us, that will be a stretch!) to what was called “civics class” when I was in high school. Do you remember the three branches of government, and the function of each? That’s right: I’ve listed the three branches of government , and their functions, below: Legislative --makes laws Executive --enforces laws Judicial --interprets laws Even though the legislative branch is supposed to be making the laws, the other branches also contribute to the great body of law that fuels the American legal system, as does the Constitution (and both the United States (U.S.) and Washington State (WA) have constitutions). So we have four primary contributors to, or components of, two parallel legal systems (federal (U.S.) and state (WA)): 1. The Constitution 2. The Legislature 3. The Executive Branch 4. The Judiciary THE CONSTITUTION AS A SOURCE OF LAW You can find the U.S. Constitution in the appendices of your text (Appendix B, beginning at p.A-4, in the back of the text). It’s an amazing document—over 200 years ago, our forefathers used it to create the three branches of government, give powers to each branch, and make sure the system operated with checks and balances. Take a moment to check it out! And remember, there are amendments (changes—usually additions) to the Constitution that have occurred over the years, including the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (called?—that’s right: “the Bill of Rights ”). Check to see how many other amendments have been made to the U.S. Constitution (each one gets its own number). 1
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The U.S. Constitution has been called “the supreme law of the land.” If you would like to check out the WA constitution, you can find it online at the WA state website: http://access.wa.gov . From there, type in “constitution” in the search box in the upper right, hit “go,” and then click on the link provided. THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AS A SOURCE OF LAW The legislative branch primarily enacts laws through the approval of a “bill” (a proposed law, that can be proposed by a legislator, or by a lobbyist, a constituent (pronounced “kuhn- stit -chew-ent”) (people like you and me, who are represented by the legislators), an advocacy group, etc., to a legislator) by each of the two legislative houses (the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives for
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Test1Notes[1] - Week 1 Lecture Notes Chapter I and part of...

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