Equity vs. Legal Action
* Court of Equity – the court will hear what is fair, and the outcome is based on factors not contract terms. * Equity – seeks a remedy when there is no available remedy at law. Deals with fairness in justice, usually stemming from natural law. Injunctions, court orders, restraining order. Civil action. * Court of Law – “black letter law” you did or did not do something. * Legal action – action typically for money damages such as a tort or breach of contract action. Criminal charges. Sources of Contemporary Law
* United States Constitution – supreme law of the land. Any law that conflicts with it is void. 1. Establishes national government, with its three branches 2. Creates a system of checks and balances
3. Guarantees many basic rights to the American people * Branches of the government – division of power
* Legislative power – gives the ability to create new laws. Article I, gives power to Congress. * Comprised of two chambers: the Senate (2 senators from each state) and the House of Representatives (based on population, 435 voting members). * Executive power – authority to enforce law. Article II establishes the president as commander and chief of the armed forces and the head of the executive branch of the government. * Judicial power – gives the right to interpret laws and determine their validity. Article III places the Supreme Court at the head of the judicial branch of the federal government. Interpretive power is just as important as the power to create law. * Checks and Balances
* The Constitution gives each branch of the government some power over the two other branches. * The President can veto Congressional legislation. * Congress can impeach the president.
* The president appoints judges to the federal courts, but these nominees do not serve unless approved by the Senate. * Congress (with help from the 50 states) can override the Supreme Court by amending the Constitution. * The President and Congress influence the Supreme Court by controlling who is place in the court. * Fundamental Rights
* The Constitution grants many of our basic liberties. They are all found in the amendments of the Constitution. * Statues
* Statutory law – a law created by a legislative body. * When Congress first proposes a law it is known as a bill. In order for the bill to become a law, it must pass Congress with a simple majority vote. It then goes to the President for approval. If the president approves, it becomes a law, if the president vetoes, it must then be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in Congress. * Common Law – Judge-made law.
* Precedent – tendency to decide current issues based on previous rulings. * Stare Decisis – “let the decision stand” is the principle that precedent is binding on later cases. 4. Stare Decisis makes the law predictable, and it allows businesses and private citizens to plan intelligently. * Precedent is only binding in lower court. The Supreme Court has no obligation to follow precedent. * Court Order – when a judge places a binding obligation on specific people or companies. * Courts have the authority to punish anyone who violates court orders. * Administrative Law – administrative agencies appointed by the government have the power to create laws called regulations. * Oversee day to day application of law in dozens of commercial and other areas. * Treaties – the President can form a treaty with a foreign nation which has to be ratified by the Senate by a two-thirds vote. * Once a treaty has been ratified, it becomes the law of the land. Classifications
* Criminal Law – criminal law prohibits certain behavior. * Civil Law – regulates the rights and duties between parties.
Jurisprudence – the...