In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of "common law" is. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue; the court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch.
Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems. The common law—so named because it was "common" to all the king's courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066; the British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today. These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system. Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Cyprus, Fiji, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe.
Some of these countries have variants on common law systems. The term common law has many connotations; the first three set out here are the most-common usages within the legal community. Other connotations from past centuries are sometimes seen and are sometimes heard in everyday speech; the first definition of "common law" given in Black's Law Dictionary, 10th edition, 2014, is "The body of law derived from judicial decisions, rather than from statutes or constitutions. This usage is given as the first definition in modern legal dictionaries, is characterized as the “most common” usage among legal professionals, is the usage seen in decisions of courts. In this connotation, "common law" distinguishes the authority. For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" or “delegated legislation” promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, common law or "case law", i.e. decisions issued by courts.
This first connotation can be further differentiated into pure common law arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, today, most contract law and the law of torts. Interstitial common law court decisions that analyze and determine the fine boundaries and distinctions in law promulgated by other bodies; this body of common law, sometimes called "interstitial common law", includes judicial interpretation of the Constitution, of legislative statutes, of agency regulations, the application of law to specific facts. Publication of decisions, indexing, is essential to the development of common law, thus governments and private publishers publish law reports. While all decisions in common law jurisdictions are precedent, some become "leading cases" or "landmark decisions" that are cited often. Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed. definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
Common law systems place great weight on court decisions, which are considered "law" with the same force of law as statutes—for nearly a millennium, common law courts have had the authority to make law where no legislative statute exists, statutes mean what courts interpret them to mean. By contrast, in civil law jurisdictions, courts lack authority to act. Civil law judges tend to give less weight to judicial precedent, which means that a
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals; the term can be used in other countries with a legislature named "Congress", such as the Congress of the Philippines. In the United States, Acts of Congress are designated as either public laws, relating to the general public, or private laws, relating to specific institutions or individuals. Since 1957, all Acts of Congress have been designated as "Public Law X-Y" or "Private Law X-Y", where X is the number of the Congress and Y refers to the sequential order of the bill. For example, P. L. 111-5 was the fifth enacted public law of the 111th United States Congress. Public laws are often abbreviated as Pub. L. No. X-Y; when the legislation of those two kinds is proposed, it is called public bill and private bill respectively. The word "act", as used in the term "Act of Congress", is a common, not a proper noun.
The capitalization of the word "act" is deprecated by some dictionaries and usage authorities. Some writers, in particular the U. S. Code, capitalize "Act"; this is a result of the more liberal use of capital letters in legal contexts, which has its roots in the 18th century capitalization of all nouns as is seen in the United States Constitution. "Act of Congress" is sometimes used in informal speech to indicate something for which getting permission is burdensome. For example, "It takes an Act of Congress to get a building permit in this town." An Act adopted by simple majorities in both houses of Congress is promulgated, or given the force of law, in one of the following ways: Signature by the President of the United States, Inaction by the President after ten days from reception while the Congress is in session, or Reconsideration by the Congress after a presidential veto during its session. The President promulgates Acts of Congress made by the first two methods. If an Act is made by the third method, the presiding officer of the house that last reconsidered the act promulgates it.
Under the United States Constitution, if the President does not return a bill or resolution to Congress with objections before the time limit expires the bill automatically becomes an Act. In addition, if the President rejects a bill or resolution while the Congress is in session, a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Congress is needed for reconsideration to be successful. Promulgation in the sense of publishing and proclaiming the law is accomplished by the President, or the relevant presiding officer in the case of an overridden veto, delivering the act to the Archivist of the United States. After the Archivist receives the Act, he or she provides for its publication as a slip law and in the United States Statutes at Large. Thereafter, the changes are published in the United States Code. An Act of Congress that violates the Constitution may be declared unconstitutional by the courts; the judicial declaration of an Act's unconstitutionality does not remove the law from the statute books.
However, future publications of the Act are annotated with warnings indicating that the statute is no longer valid law. Legislation List of United States federal legislation for a list of prominent acts of Congress. Procedures of the United States Congress Act of Parliament Coming into force Enactment Federal Register http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/glossary.html
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a city, state, or country. Statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. Statutes are rules made by legislative bodies. In all countries, newly enacted statutes are published in a Government gazette, distributed so that everyone can look up the statutory law. A universal problem encountered by lawmakers throughout human history is how to organize published statutes; such publications have a habit of starting small but growing over time, as new statutes are enacted in response to the exigencies of the moment. Persons trying to find the law are forced to sort through an enormous number of statutes enacted at various points in time to determine which portions are still in effect; the solution adopted in many countries is to organize existing statutory law in topical arrangements within publications called codes ensure that new statutes are drafted so that they add, repeal or move various code sections. In turn, in theory, the code will thenceforth reflect the current cumulative state of the statutory law in that jurisdiction.
In many nations statutory law is subordinate to constitutional law. The term statute is used to refer to an International treaty that establishes an institution, such as the Statute of the European Central Bank, a protocol to the international courts as well, such as the Statute of the International Court of Justice and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Statute is another word for law; the term was adapted from England in about the 18th century. In the Autonomous Communities of Spain, the autonomy statute is a legal document similar to a state constitution in a federated state; the autonomies statutes in Spain have the rank of "Ley Organica", a category of special laws reserved only for the main institutions and issues and mentioned in the Constitution. Leyes Organicas rank between ordinary laws; the name was chosen, among others. In biblical terminology, statute refers to a law given without any justification; the classic example is the statute regarding the Red Heifer. The opposite of a chok is a mishpat, a law given for a specified reason, e.g. the Sabbath laws, which were given because "God created the world in six days, but on the seventh day He rested".
That which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe meaning the Law or Natural Law. This is a concept of central importance in Indian religion. Constitution Legislation Legislature Organic statute Statutory law Super statute
Sierra Club v. Morton
Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U. S. 727, is a Supreme Court of the United States case on the issue of standing under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Court rejected a lawsuit by the Sierra Club seeking to block the development of a ski resort at Mineral King valley in the Sierra Nevada Mountains because the club had not alleged any injury; the case prompted a famous dissent by Justice William O. Douglas suggesting that in response to ecological concerns, environmental objects should be granted legal personhood by the public. Mineral King is a seven mile by one mile subalpine glacial valley in Sequoia National Forest abutting Sequoia National Park in Tulare County and only accessible by a dirt county road. In 1965 the United States Forest Service began circulating a prospectus calling for bids for recreational developments at Mineral King. In 1969 the Forest Service accepted a bid by The Walt Disney Company proposing a $35 million ski resort accommodating 1.7 million annual visitors and at any one time 20,000 skiers.
By comparison, Disneyland had cost $17 million. The resort would require construction of a new twenty mile highway and 66,000 volt power line through Sequoia National Park a nine-story parking structure and a cog-assisted railroad to take visitors into the valley. Walt Disney began buying private property around Mineral King through Retlaw Enterprises and, after contributing in the California gubernatorial election, 1966, received a personal promise from Ronald Reagan that the state would fund the highway. Skeptical economists doubted. Disney's master plan attracted national media attention from Harper's Magazine as well as consistent, critical coverage by The New York Times. Michael McCloskey had just ousted David Brower as executive director of the Sierra Club and, emboldened by the Second Circuit's decision in Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission, he sought a more direct, litigious, approach to environmentalism by setting up the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund renamed Earthjustice.
The Sierra Club sued the United States Secretary of the Interior in San Francisco federal court to block development of Disney's famous ski resort. Asserting itself as private attorney general, the Sierra Club argued that Disney's resort would cause “irreparable harm to the public interest”; the Sierra Club did not allege it suffered a unique, private injury from Disney's ski resort because it believed the court would weigh the balance of hardships in Disney's favor. After two days of hearings, on July 23, 1969, District Judge William Thomas Sweigert issued a preliminary injunction blocking Disney's ski resort; the Secretary appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On September 16, 1970, Judge Ozell Miller Trask, joined by Judge John Kilkenny, vacated judgment and remanded, finding that the Club did not have standing to sue because it had made no allegation that it would be affected by Disney's ski resort. Discussing the merits, Judge Trask felt it was within the Secretary's discretion “to make available a vast area of incomparable beauty to more people rather than to have it remain inaccessible except to a rugged few.”
Judge Frederick George Hamley concurred, noting that although he thought the Sierra Club had standing to sue, he agreed on the merits that Judge Sweigert's injunction had been an abuse of discretion. The Sierra Club's petition for certiorari was granted and the case was argued before the U. S. Supreme Court on November 17, 1971, with U. S. Solicitor General Erwin Griswold appearing. Tulare County filed amici briefs in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court supporting the Secretary. Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and Associate Attorney General William Rehnquist, whom both joined the Court on January 7, 1972, did not participate in the case. On April 19, 1972 the Supreme Court affirmed 4-3. Writing for the Court, Justice Potter Stewart, joined by Justices Byron White, Thurgood Marshall, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, agreed with the Ninth Circuit that the Sierra Club had not alleged any legal interest in the case; because the Constitution's Case or Controversy Clause prohibits advisory opinions, the Court reasons that the legal wrongs protected by the Administrative Procedure Act must at minimum meet the prevailing constitutional requirements of standing.
The Sierra Club's legal interest in the case, according to the Court, seemed to be relying on a “zone of interests” test that Justice Douglas had announced in two cases decided on March 3, 1970. Declining to clarify the meaning of “zone of interests”, the Court reasoned that broadening the categories of injury is different “from abandoning the requirement” that plaintiffs themselves be injured; the Sierra Club had no standing to sue because it did not allege it was itself in any way injured by Disney's ski resort. In a footnote, the Court helpfully notes that the Wilderness Society’s amici brief included assertions that the Sierra Club makes regular camping trips to Mineral King and that Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “of course”, allows the Sierra Club to amend its complaint. Justice Stewart closes by noting that although Alexis de Tocqueville had observed “Scarcely any political question arises in the United States, not resolved sooner or into a judicial question”, that Tocqueville further commented that “by intimately uniting the trial of the law with the trial of an individual, legislation is protected from wanton assaults and from the daily aggressions of party spirit.”
Sierra Club v. Morton is best known for the dissenting opinion by William O. Douglas who asserted that natural resources ought to have standing to sue for their
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president, he implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, established the Truman Doctrine and NATO. Truman was elected to the United States Senate in 1934 and gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee aimed at waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts. Soon after succeeding to the presidency he authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war. Truman's administration renounced isolationism, he rallied his New Deal coalition during the 1948 presidential election and won a surprise victory that secured his own presidential term. Truman oversaw the Berlin Airlift of 1948; when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, he gained United Nations approval for the large policy action known as the Korean War. It saved South Korea but the Chinese intervened, driving back the UN/US forces and preventing a rollback of Communism in North Korea.
On domestic issues, bills endorsed by Truman faced opposition from a conservative Congress, but his administration guided the U. S. economy through the post-war economic challenges. In 1948 he submitted the first comprehensive civil rights legislation and issued Executive Orders to start racial integration in the military and federal agencies. Allegations of corruption in the Truman administration became a central campaign issue in the 1952 presidential election and accounted for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's electoral victory against Democrat Adlai Stevenson II. Truman's financially difficult retirement was marked by the founding of his presidential library and the publication of his memoirs; when he left office, Truman's presidency was criticized, but scholars rehabilitated his image in the 1960s and he is ranked as one of the best presidents. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884, the oldest child of John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman, his namesake was Harrison "Harry" Young.
His middle initial "S" honors Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. A brother, John Vivian, was born soon followed by sister Mary Jane. Truman's ancestry is English and less Scotch-Irish, German or French. John Truman was a livestock dealer; the family lived in Lamar until Harry was ten months old, when they moved to a farm near Harrisonville, Missouri. The family next moved to Belton, in 1887 to his grandparents' 600-acre farm in Grandview; when Truman was six, his parents moved to Independence, so he could attend the Presbyterian Church Sunday School. He did not attend a traditional school. While living in Independence, he served as a Shabbos goy for Jewish neighbors, doing tasks for them on Shabbat that their religion prevented them from doing on that day. Truman was interested in music and history, all encouraged by his mother, with whom he was close; as president, he solicited political as well as personal advice from her. He rose at five every morning to practice the piano, which he studied more than twice a week until he was fifteen.
Truman worked as a page at the 1900 Democratic National Convention in Kansas City. After graduating from Independence High School in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding's Commercial College, a Kansas City business school, he made use of his business college experience to obtain a job as a timekeeper on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, sleeping in hobo camps near the rail lines. He took on a series of clerical jobs, was employed in the mail room of The Kansas City Star. Truman and his brother Vivian worked as clerks at the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, he returned to the Grandview farm in 1906, where he lived until entering the army in 1917 after the beginning of the Great War. During this period, he courted Bess Wallace. Truman said he intended to propose again, but he wanted to have a better income than that earned by a farmer. To that end, during his years on the farm and after World War I, he became active in several business ventures, including a lead and zinc mine near Commerce, Oklahoma, a company that bought land and leased the oil drilling rights to prospectors, speculation in Kansas City real estate.
Truman derived some income from these enterprises, but none proved successful in the long term. Truman is the only president since William McKinley not to earn a college degree. In addition to having attended business college, from 1923 to 1925 he took night courses toward an LL. B. at the Kansas City Law dropped out after losing reelection as county judge. He was informed by attorneys in the Kansas City area that his education and experience were sufficient to receive a license to practice law. However, he did not pursue it. While serving as president in 1947, Truman applied for a license to practice law. A friend, an attorney began working out the arrangements, informed Truman that his application had to be notarized. By the time Truman received this information he had changed his mind, so he never sought notarization. After rediscovery of Truman's application, in 1996 the Missour
Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role and structure of different entities within a state, the executive, the parliament or legislature, the judiciary. Not all nation states have codified constitutions, though all such states have a jus commune, or law of the land, that may consist of a variety of imperative and consensual rules; these may include customary law, statutory law, judge-made law, or international rules and norms. Constitutional law deals with the fundamental principles by which the government exercises its authority. In some instances, these principles grant specific powers to the government, such as the power to tax and spend for the welfare of the population. Other times, constitutional principles act to place limits on what the government can do, such as prohibiting the arrest of an individual without sufficient cause. In most nations, such as the United States and Singapore, constitutional law is based on the text of a document ratified at the time the nation came into being.
Other constitutions, notably that of the United Kingdom, rely on unwritten rules known as constitutional conventions. Constitutional laws may be considered second order rule making or rules about making rules to exercise power, it governs the relationships between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive with the bodies under its authority. One of the key tasks of constitutions within this context is to indicate hierarchies and relationships of power. For example, in a unitary state, the constitution will vest ultimate authority in one central administration and legislature, judiciary, though there is a delegation of power or authority to local or municipal authorities; when a constitution establishes a federal state, it will identify the several levels of government coexisting with exclusive or shared areas of jurisdiction over lawmaking and enforcement. Some federal states, most notably the United States, have separate and parallel federal and state judiciaries, with each having its own hierarchy of courts with a supreme court for each state.
India, on the other hand, has one judiciary divided into district courts, high courts, the Supreme Court of India. Human rights or civil liberties form a crucial part of a country's constitution and uphold the rights of the individual against the state. Most jurisdictions, like the United States and France, have a codified constitution, with a bill of rights. A recent example is the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, intended to be included in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, that failed to be ratified; the most important example is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the UN Charter. These are intended to ensure basic political and economic standards that a nation state, or intergovernmental body is obliged to provide to its citizens but many do include its governments; some countries like the United Kingdom have no entrenched document setting out fundamental rights. A case named Carrington is a constitutional principle deriving from the common law.
John Entick's house was ransacked by Sherriff Carrington. Carrington argued that a warrant from a Government minister, the Earl of Halifax was valid authority though there was no statutory provision or court order for it; the court, led by Lord Camden stated that, "The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it so minute, is a trespass... If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, the plaintiff must have judgment." The common law and the civil law jurisdictions do not share the same constitutional law underpinnings. Common law nations, such as those in the Commonwealth as well as the United States, derive their legal systems from that of the United Kingdom, as such place emphasis on judicial precedent, whereby consequential court rulings are a source of law.
Civil law jurisdictions, on the other hand, place less emphasis on judicial review and only the parliament or legislature has the power to effect law. As a result, the structure of the judiciary differs between the two, with common law judiciaries being adversarial and civil law judiciaries being inquisitorial. Common law judicatures separate the judiciary from the prosecution, thereby establishing the courts as independent from both the legislature and law enforcement. Human rights law in these countries is as a result built on legal precedent in the courts' interpretation of constitutional law, whereas that of civil law countries is exclusively composed of codified law, constitutional or otherwise. Another main function of constitutions may be to describe the procedure by which parliaments may legislate. For instance, special majorities may be required to alter the constitution. In bicameral legislatures, there may be a process laid out for second or third readings of bills before a new law can enter into force.
Alternatively, there may further be requirements for maximum terms that a government can keep power before holding an election
United States Statutes at Large
The United States Statutes at Large referred to as the Statutes at Large and abbreviated Stat. are an official record of Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the United States Congress. Each act and resolution of Congress is published as a slip law, classified as either public law or private law, designated and numbered accordingly. At the end of a Congressional session, the statutes enacted during that session are compiled into bound books, known as "session law" publications; the session law publication for U. S. Federal statutes is called the United States Statutes at Large. In that publication, the public laws and private laws are numbered and organized in chronological order. U. S. Federal statutes are published in a three-part process, consisting of slip laws, session laws, codification. Large portions of public laws are enacted as amendments to the United States Code. Once enacted into law, an Act will be published in the Statutes at Large and will add to, modify, or delete some part of the United States Code.
Provisions of a public law that contain only enacting clauses, effective dates, similar matters are not codified. Private laws are not codified; some portions of the United States Code have been enacted as positive law and other portions have not been so enacted. In case of a conflict between the text of the Statutes at Large and the text of a provision of the United States Code that has not been enacted as positive law, the text of the Statutes at Large takes precedence. Publication of the United States Statutes at Large began in 1845 by the private firm of Little and Company under authority of a joint resolution of Congress. During Little and Company's time as publisher, Richard Peters, George Minot, George P. Sanger served as editors. In 1874, Congress transferred the authority to publish the Statutes at Large to the Government Printing Office under the direction of the Secretary of State. Pub. L. 80–278, 61 Stat. 633, was enacted July 30, 1947 and directed the Secretary of State to compile, edit and publish the Statutes at Large.
Pub. L. 81–821, 64 Stat. 980, was enacted September 23, 1950 and directed the Administrator of General Services to compile, edit and publish the Statutes at Large. Since 1985 the Statutes at Large have been prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register of the National Archives and Records Administration; until 1948, all treaties and international agreements approved by the United States Senate were published in the set, but these now appear in a publication titled United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, abbreviated U. S. T. In addition, the Statutes at Large includes the text of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, amendments to the Constitution, treaties with Indians and foreign nations, presidential proclamations. Sometimes large or long Acts of Congress are published as their own "appendix" volume of the Statutes at Large. For example, the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 was published as volume 68A of the Statutes at Large.
Revised Statutes of the United States Procedures of the United States Congress Enrolled Bill Federal Register United States Reports California Statutes Laws of Florida Laws of Illinois Laws of New York Laws of Pennsylvania This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the U. S. Government Publishing Office. How Our Laws Are Made, by the Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives. Volumes 1 to 18 of the Statutes at Large made available by the Library of Congress Volumes 1 to 64 of the Statutes at Large made available by the Congressional Data Coalition via LEGISWORKS.org Volumes 65 to 125 of the Statutes at Large made available by the GPO and the Library of Congress via FDsys Sortable by Bills Enacted into Laws, Concurrent Resolutions, Popular Names, Presidential Proclamations, or Public Laws. Volumes 1–124 of the Statutes at Large made available by the Constitution Society Public and private laws from 104th Congress to present from the Government Printing Office, in slip law format with Statutes at Large page references Early United States Statutes includes Volumes 1 to 44 of the Statutes at Large in DjVu and PDF format, along with rudimentary OCR of the text.
United States Statutes and the United States Code: Historical Outlines, Lists and Sources from the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, DC Second Edition of the Revised Statutes of the United States