Statutes Statutes are laws passed by Congress and states legislatures. Congress passed an unprecedented number of statutes in the twentieth century, covering such issues as environmental regulation, criminal law, and contracts. State governments can also pass statues according to the rules of their own constitutions. Some government agencies can issue administrative regulations, which have the force of law.Types of Law American courts handle three types of law: 1. Criminal law:Forbids people from acting in certain ways. In criminal cases, a government prosecutor brings charges against a defendant. The outcome is either acquittal or punishment. 2. Civil law:Governs how people relate to one another. It can involve disputes about contracts, suits over responsibility for injury, and the like. Both parties in a civil suit are private citizens; the government does not bring civil charges against people. 3. Constitutional law:Covers the fundamentals of the political system, including cases that test the constitutionality of a law or government action.
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