COM/JRN 301 Exam 1 Study Guide – Fall 2011
Sources of law (constitutions, statutes, etc.):
: considered “discovered law”, a single system of law worked out by
jurists and judges. Importance of precedent.
: Another kind of judge-made law, just different from common in
procedures and remedies.
More flexible rules and procedures, never tried before a
jury, judgments as judicial decrees (not yes or no), decisions are discretionary,
are free to do what they feel is right despite precedents. Sought out when there is a real threat
of a direct, immediate and irreparable injury for which
monetary damages wont provide
sufficient compensation (restraining order, injunction).
: Created by legislative bodies at the local, state, and federal levels.
Tends to deal with problems affecting society or large groups of people. Can
anticipate problems (common can’t). All criminal laws are statutory. Collected in
codes and law books. When judges rule, supposed to be on what the legislature
when it passed the law, not what they personally think the law should mean.
: Considered most important source of U.S. law because the
people have an unusually direct voice in the approval and change of a constitution.
Executive Orders/Administrative Rules
: Orders issued by elected officers of
government/rules generated by the administrative agencies of government at the federal
Has both original and appellate jurisdiction. Cases come through direct appeal
or writs of certiorari. Pick cases with broad Constitutional questions or disagreements of
federal court circuits. Not their role to right wrong decisions, has to have somehow violated
Constitutional rights, be an arbitrary decision, flawed law, etc. Rule of Four to pick cases. Will
hear a case because of Flawed Law (inconsistent with Con.) or Vagueness of a law (can’t
figure out which side you would be on, ends in self-censorship).
Theories for dealing with First Amendment (balancing, absolutist etc.)
: Complete barrier to government censorship. 1
that “no law” may abridge freedom of expression, the Framers really meant NO law. NO
Ad Hoc Balancing Theory
: The meaning of the freedom of expression is determined
solely on a case by case basis, more of a strategy than theory.
Preferred Position Balancing Theory
: Like Ad Hoc, but based on a philosophical
foundation (the maintenance of all rights is dependent on free exercise of free speech and
: Freedom of expression is a means to an end (successful self
Speech protected ONLY so that our system of democracy can function.