In modern society, in many states and in the federal government (United States v. Hudson & Goodwin, 2010), judges cannot create crimes. This goes against notions of fairness. Inventing a new crime and punishing the accused for it adds neither coherence nor predictability to our legal system. It also violates the principle of legality, a central concept of American criminal justice embodied in this sentence: «Nullum crimen sine lege, nulla poena sine crimen» (No crime without law, no punishment without crime). The first source of law is constitutional law. Two constitutions are applicable in each state: the Federal or U.S. Constitution, which is in force throughout the United States of America, and the State Constitution. The Constitution of the United States created our legal system, as discussed in Chapter 2, «The Legal System in the United States.» State constitutions generally focus on matters of local concern.

Over the course of two centuries, the legal system of the United States has become a model for other nations of the world that are trying to make various laws. In this presentation, we discussed the four sources of law that interact, overlap, and work together to create a robust set of legal guidelines. [1] World Bank Group, «Sources of Law,» The law comes from three places called sources of law. [7] laws are passed by the legislature and provide general rules for society. States have legislators (sometimes called assemblies), which usually consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Like the federal government, state lawmakers will agree on the terms of a bill, which will then be sent to the governor (who acts as that state`s president) for signature. Like the president, governors often have veto power. The process of creating and amending or amending laws is full of political negotiations and compromises. The cases are diverse, and the case law does not really have the force of law until the judge has ruled on the case, so there must be a way to ensure the predictability of the jurisprudence. It would not be fair to punish someone for behavior that is not yet illegal.

Therefore, judges adhere to a policy called stare decisis. Stare decisis is derived from English common law and requires judges to follow judgments in previous cases. A previous case is called a precedent. Once judges have rendered a decision in a particular case, the public can be confident that the resulting precedent will continue to be followed by other judges. Stare decisis is not absolute; Judges may depart from it to adapt the law to the modern expectations of society. State criminal laws vary widely, so much so that in the early 1960s, a group of jurists, lawyers, and judges who are members of the American Law Institute drafted a series of criminal bills called the Model Penal Code. The purpose of the Model Penal Code was to provide a standardized set of criminal laws that all states could adopt, thereby simplifying the diversity effect of the United States legal system. Although the Model Penal Code has not been widely adopted, a majority of States have incorporated parts of it into their penal codes, and the Model Penal Code survives as a guideline and talking point when state legislators amend their criminal laws. Suppose a court has to decide whether an employer can fire an employee without cause. Suppose there were no laws that applied to the facts: there was no contract between the employer and the employee, but the employee had worked for the employer for many years, and now a younger person was replacing him. The court should decide, without prior guidelines, whether the employee has raised a «cause of action» against the employer. If the court decides that the case is not legally enforceable, it will dismiss the claim.

Future courts would then treat similar cases in the same way. In this lawsuit, the court could find that employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason. This rule could be applied in the future if similar cases occurred. There are many sources of law in the United States today. The most important are (1) constitutions – both at the state and federal levels, (2) government laws and regulations, and (3) court decisions. In addition, the heads of the executive (the president and individual governors) can issue executive decrees that have legal effect. Constitutions, laws, regulations, treaties and court decisions may provide a legal basis in positive law. You may believe that you have been wronged, but in order for you to have an enforceable right in court, you must have something in the positive law that you can indicate that supports a cause of action against the defendant you have chosen. Whether the United States will remain a supporter of free trade and continue to participate as a leader in the WTO will ultimately depend on whether citizens elect leaders who support the process. For example, if Ross Perot had been elected in 1992, NAFTA would have been politically (and legally) dead during his mandate. Federal and state legislation, also known as statutory law, is the second important source of law in our legal system.

Beyond the court`s decision, when you look at the court`s reasoning, you are most likely to understand which facts were most important to the court and which theories (law schools) each trial or appellate judge believes. Because judges don`t always agree on the original principles (i.e., they join different law schools), there are many divided opinions in appellate judgments and in every term of the U.S. Supreme Court. There are various sources of law in the U.S. legal system. The Constitution of the United States is fundamental; American law and common law must not conflict with its provisions. Congress creates the legal law (with the signature of the president), and the courts will interpret the constitutional law and the law. Where there is no constitutional or statutory law, the courts work in the common law domain. The same applies to the law in the fifty states, each of which also has a constitution or a fundamental law. A judge writes the legal opinion.

Judges vote on how they decide, and not all cases are supported by a unanimous decision.