countless English common law ideas have been seen as sensible and adopted by American courts.●Now, judges tend to stand by decisions and follow the doctrine of stare decisis,but what if they don't want to? Must they, if they believe an established principle no longer makes sense in modern society? The assigned reading describes different types of precedents and the degree to which they are binding. The Flagiello case also addresses the issue.●Today, many legal ideas are not derived from court decisions, but rather come from statutes enacted by state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.
Elected representatives can and do pass laws that reflect the will of the majority. But there are limits on the kinds of statutes that can be created.●Some attempted statutes are voided by the courts because they violate some part of the Constitution. A statute cannot take away a basic liberty, likefreedom of speech, for example. Other statutes fail because they are too vague or are beyond a legislature's legitimate power. The reading discusses this issue, and also the ways in which courts interpret statutes before comingto a close.Key Concept 7: Statutory Interpretation●Statutes are occasionally so clear that it is obvious how they resolve a particular question. In such cases, courts often invoke the plain meaning rule. However, much more commonly it is not clear how a statute applies to a particular set of facts. Courts are required to engage in the process of statutory interpretation where their objective is not to interpret a statute in the way the judges think it should have been written but, instead, in the way the judges think that the legislature would have wanted it applied. This search for legislative intent often involves studying legislative history, examining the purpose for which the law was enacted, and even using rules of grammar and punctuation.Two common rules of grammar, ejusdem generisand expression uniusest exclusion alterius, are often used by the courts to interpret legislative intent from the words of the statute and they are explained in the text. Unit 2 Quiz It is generally easier for a plaintiff to win on summary judgment than a defendant. ● T or F ● A defendant moving for summary judgment only needs to prove that there is no genuine issue of material fact while a plaintiff must produce evidence strong enough to prove all elements of the claim, the defendant failed to present evidence that creates any doubt about any elements of the claim, and the defendant has failed to present evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue regarding an affirmative defense. ● The correct answer is 'False'. A judge who fails to follow precedent set by a higher court will lose his or her position. ● T or F ● There is no direct punishment for failing to follow precedent set by a higher court. It is, though, likely that the judge's opinion will be reversed. ● The correct answer is 'False'. If a plaintiff properly proves all the necessary elements of his claim, he can still lose a civil case. ● T or F
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- Spring '08
- Law, Supreme Court of the United States, Appellate court