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LGST 101 Lecture 2

People in west pa got together and filed a lawsuit o

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People in west PA got together and filed a lawsuit o Argued that tourism and recreation was commerce, and that this was disrupted The goal of the law was to enhance and maintain the flow of commerce o The intention 100 years earlier had no environmental implications, but now it did Now there is recreation and tourist use o The courts don’t have to wait for legislation to recognize there is an environmental problem They can take an older law and apply it in a way they see fit The laws have a different meaning, because society requires it Another example: women, their bodies, and childbearing o Nothing in the Constitution changed o The Supreme Court interpreted the law in a way that met society’s needs Divorce can only happen if there is marriage o Except in common law marriage o By living together for 21 years, as though you were married, at the end of that time, you are married The exception to the rule o Law has a lot of exceptions 21 years is a very important number in law o Lee Marvin – actor Lived with a woman for 11 years Lived exactly as if they were married
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Met a new woman First woman sued Marvin – she said that the number 21 years was not so important o Courts agreed, and said that she had a claim Society changed and the courts agreed The Constitution did not change The courts solve problems – they interpret what the laws mean o The legislation of intent The courts do not say what the law means The legislature says what the law means You have to change the law Very conservative o Plain meaning Courts look at populace What meaning do you attribute to these words? The meaning of words have changed over time A “poke” means different things in different places One might say you’re expected to know the law – but what if you’re from a certain area and some obscure meaning is invoked from a certain word? You can’ be expected to know that Plain meaning says what do these people think of the words (how does a specific population interpret words?) Middle of the road – allows for some change o Policy approach Courts have duty to solve problems If society changes, courts must interpret laws in tune with that change This could mean taking an 1870s’ law meant to get rid of snags in rivers and using it to deal with river pollution Use an existing law and changing what they mean Contemporary Two terms o Criminal insanity An important part of law today It’s been around since 1843, but we don’t know what it means still We’re still changing what it means
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