Components of Law

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PS 241

Professor Lees


Components Of Law

In class, we broke components of law up into four categories. System of social norms on which

laws are based, a group empowered to enforce the laws, a legitimate system of enforcement, and a system

for interpreting the law. Throughout this essay I'll divide up these categories, and give examples of each of


A system of social norms on which laws are based, generally determine what is good or bad in a

society. Legalization of alcohol consumption makes it moral to consume alcoholic beverages, but stores that

sell have guidelines to sell the legal beverage. But the illegalization of prostitution, however, is immoral. No

one should have to sell their body for money in our society.

Law enforcement is a group empowered to enforce the laws. Some laws are unenforced, such as

traffic and jay walking laws. There is also a legitimate system of enforcement, that lets a body that has seen

a legitimate act to carry out the law. An example is a police officer acting on an observed robbery.

The last component of law is a system for interpreting the law. All laws cannot cover every situation

that may happen, therefore it must be interpreted. The Supreme court applies or interprets the law and/or

gives the law meaning. Words have no meaning unless we give them meaning to laws and the constitution.

The Sociological Definition of law suggests a link between laws and customs. To understand laws

you must study social conditions and background(effects all of society). Social ideas are a reaction to

backgrounds(motivate people example is taxation without representation). People in the concept of law are

individuals who help reactions(Pam Pleteers, Patrick Henry). To understand the law you must know those

three key things in the Sociologist point of view. Sociologists also see laws as rules sanctioned by the

government, not necessarily norms.
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