Ch01-SG - TheLegalandInternational Foundations WHATTHIS...

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Chapter 1: The Legal and International Foundations W HAT   THIS  C HAPTER  I S  A BOUT The first chapters in Unit 1 provide  the background  for the entire course. Chapter  1 sets the stage.  From this   chapter, you  must  understand  that  (1) the law  is a set of general  rules, (2) in applying  these  general  rules, a judge   cannot fit a case to suit a rule, but must  fit (or find) a rule to suit the case, and  (3) in fitting (or finding) a rule, a judge   must  also supply  reasons for the decision. C HAPTER  O UTLINE I. THE NATURE OF LAW Law  consists of enforceable  rules governing  relationships  among  individuals  and  between  individuals  and   their society. A. T HE  N ATURAL  L AW  T RADITION Natural  law   is a system  of moral and  ethical principles that are believed  to be inherent  in human  na ture  and  discoverable by humans  through  the use of their natural intelligence. B. L EGAL  P OSITIVISM Legal positivists  believe  that  there  is no higher  law  than  a nation’s positive  law  (the law  created  by a  particular society at a particular point in time).  The law is the law and  must  be obeyed. C. T HE  H ISTORICAL  S CHOOL The historical school looks to the past  to discover  what  the principles  of contemporary  law  should  be.  Adherents strictly follow past decisions. D. L EGAL  R EALISM Legal realists believe that in making decisions, judges are influenced  by their own  beliefs, the application  of  principles  should  be  tempered  by  each  case’s  circumstances,  and  extra-legal  sources  should  be  consulted. II. BUSINESS ACTIVITIES AND  THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT The law  is split into different  topics to make  it easier to study,  but  more  than  one of those areas of the law   can  affect  individual  business  decisions.  Whether  an  activity  is ethical  is an  important  part  of deciding   whether  to engage in it, but simply complying  with the law may not meet all ethical obligations. III. SOURCES OF AMERICAN LAW A. C ONSTITUTIONAL  L AW The U.S. Constitution  distributes power  among  the branches of government. It is the supreme  law of the   land.  Any  law  that  conflicts with  it is invalid.  The states  also  have  constitutions,  but  the  federal  con- stitution  prevails if their provisions conflict. B. S TATUTORY   LAW 1
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2 STUDY GUIDE WORKBOOK TO ACCOMPANY WEST’S BUSINESS LAW Statutes and  ordinances are enacted  by Congress and  by state and  local legislative bodies. Uniform  laws  and  model  codes are created  by panels of experts and  scholars and  adopted  at the option  of each state’s  legislature. C.
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Ch01-SG - TheLegalandInternational Foundations WHATTHIS...

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