Why Why do we need laws? Where do laws come from?
Why do I Care? How does the law affect you? How are laws being made today being affected by changes in technology?
Sexting The percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves: 20% of teenagers overall 22% of teen girls 18% of teen boys 11% of young teen girls ages 13-16 What are the legal ramifications?
Legal Issues Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. Phillip Alpert
Key Terms Laws – enforceable rules of conduct in a society. Code – Laws grouped into an organized form. Common law – Law based on the current standards or customs of the people. Positive law – Law based on the dictates of a central political authority. Jurisdiction – the power of a court to decide a case. Equity – basic fairness.
Stages in Growth of the Law Most societies go through four distinct stages in forming their legal systems: 1. Individuals are free to take revenge for wrongs done to them. (Gang wars) 2. A leader acquires enough power to be able to force revenge-minded individuals to accept an award of goods or money instead 3. The leader gives this power to a system of courts. 4. The leader or central authority acts to prevent and punish wrongs that provoke individuals to seek revenge.
Common Law Law based on the current standards or customs of the people. Formed from rules used by judges to settle people’s disputes.
Positive Law Laws set down by a sovereign or other central authority to prevent disputes and wrongs from occurring in the first place.
Systems of Law English common law Used by 49 states Roman civil law Written Well organized Comprehensive Only changed by central government Only used by Louisiana
Why Are Laws Needed Protect individuals Settle disputes Award damages Prevent or punish wrongs.
Sources of Law Constitution Highest source of law (federal is “the supreme law of the land”) Defines and allocates powers in our society Between the people and the government Between state and federal governments Among the branches of government
Allocation of Power People and Government Done in the main body of the Constitution Done in the first ten amendments (Bill of Rights) Federal and State Governments Constitution gives Federal Government power to regulate both foreign and interstate commerce Branches of Government Checks and balances
Laws Congress passes federal laws called statutes State legislatures pass state laws called statutes Local governments pass ordinances Case Law When an appellate court hears an appeal the opinion may state new or more appropriate rules to be used in deciding the case and others like it – referred to as case law. Stare decisis – lower courts must follow established case law in deciding similar cases. Administrative agencies create administrative laws – rules and regulations.
Conflicts in laws Supremecy rules Federal law supersedes state law State law supersedes local law Constitutional law supersedes statutory law Statutory law supersedes administrative law Higher court’s decisions prevail over lower court’s
Constitutional Law Can the constitution be changed? If so, how?