s-25 - American Courts Ch1 An Overview of the Courts [1-19]...

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American Courts Ch1 – An Overview of the Courts [1-19] [9/2] 1. Courts and Law [p.g. 2] 1. Courts and Law 1. Concept of law authoritative rules made by government 1. Rules are authoritative b/c are intended to bind government itself, ppl, and institutions outside government, or both 2. Courts interpret laws made elsewhere and make law themselves 2. Sources of Law 1. Constitutions – the highest form of law 1. state constitutions are superior to any other state laws 2. federal const. superior to other fed. Laws and state laws[including state constitutions] 3. fed. & state const. establish basic rules about powers of gov’t and procedures by which gov”t operates 2. Statutes – laws enacted by legislatures [2 nd highest form of law] 1. Ordinances = laws passed by local legislative bodies 2. legislatures are free to enact statutes of any type, as long as don’t conflict w/ 3. statutes generally directed at society as a whole [whereas constitutions generally deal w/ what government can do] 4. often prohibit a form of conduct [i.e. damage to environment] or provide benefits [i.e. med. care] 5. typically written in broad terms 6. rules/ regulations from an administrative agency that’s responsible for carrying out a statute often fills in the outline by adopting more detailed legal rules 7. executive orders laws made by chief executives [i.e. presidents and governors] occupy 2 diff. positions in the legal hierarchy 1. some based on statutes, some on powers that federal or state constitution gives the chief executive [similar to statutes] 8. common law independent, judge-made law
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s-25 - American Courts Ch1 An Overview of the Courts [1-19]...

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