It is not a crime against the state to cause injury to a specific individual if one person files a lawsuit against another for the same thing.
A violation of civil law is called a tort.
The purpose of the government is not to harm society, but to give individuals a forum in which they can peacefully resolve their differences.
The government has no stake in the outcome.
Sometimes a person will face both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit at the same time.
An example would be a drunk driver who causes an accident that hurts another person.
The drunk driver could face criminal charges and be sued by the injured party for medical expenses, missed income, and pain and suffering.
The damages are called compensatory damages.
The bar that served the alcohol to the drunk driver might be sued by the injured person if they want to get compensation.
A fine might be included in a civil suit if the individual caused the injury.
Punitive damages are what they are called.
The burden of proof is easier to meet in civil trials because we think government poses a bigger threat to our liberties than we do.
The laws that are in the Constitution are referred to as constitutional law.
The basic rights of citizens are guaranteed by the laws that establish the basic powers of and limitations on government institutions.
In addition, constitutional law refers to the many decisions that have been made by lower court judges in the United States, as well as by the justices on the Supreme Court, in their attempts to decide precisely what the Constitution means and how it should be interpreted.
These decisions become part of the foundation of American constitutional law because of our common-law tradition.
When circumstances change, justices are replaced, cases are overturned, and precedent is reversed, constitutional law changes over time.
Most laws in the country are made by Congress, the state legislature, and even the president.
Legislators make statutory laws at the state or national level.
Statutes reflect the will of the bodies elected to represent the people.
We are told to wear seatbelts, pay taxes, and stay home on Memorial Day.
According to the principle of judicial review, judges can declare statutes unconstitutional if they conflict with the basic principles of government or the rights of citizens.
The American justice system makes decisions on criminal cases, but also allows citizens to seek compensation for injury or damage.
While Bill Cosby was sentenced to ten years in prison for drugging and sexually abusing a woman, he was also involved in several civil cases.
Legislators delegate some of their power to bureaucratic agencies and departments because they can't be experts on all matters.
The bureaucratic actors exercise their lawmaking power on behalf of Congress.
Administrative laws include the thousands of regulations that agencies create concerning how much coloring and other Additives can be in the food we buy, how airports will monitor air traffic, what kind of material can be used to make pajamas for children, and what deductions can be taken legally when figuring your income tax These laws are not made by people who are accountable to the citizens of America, but by elected representatives.
Chapter 9 discussed the implications of undemocratic decision making.
Finally, they are made by the president.
We explained in Chapter 8 that these laws need to be binding only during the president's administration.
President Harry Truman's order to desegregate the armed forces in 1948 is one of the most famous executive orders.
The citizens have a stake in the society.
They use laws to try to achieve security, predictability, peaceful conflict resolution, and a non disruptive distribution of social costs and benefits.
The full array of laws and legal traditions available to them in the American legal system is what they use to accomplish their goals.
The results of the legal process are shaped by the American system's common-law roots and litigious nature.
Discuss the role that law plays in democratic societies.
The court system we set up to administer the law is our own and owes a lot to the British.
The nature of the judiciary was the subject of heated debate during the nation's founding.
Large states were comfortable with a strong court system as part of a strong national government, while small states preferred a weak judiciary.
The authors of the Constitution decided to leave it to Congress to resolve the problem.
If judges demonstrate good behavior, they will be appointed for life and will not have their pay reduced while they are in office.
The powers of the Supreme Court are not spelled out in the Constitution.
All other cases come to the Supreme Court only on appeal, and it only specifies which cases must come directly to the Supreme Court.
It was up to Congress to say how.
The writers of the Constitution sidestepped the controversy by dropping the issue of court structure and power into the lap of a future Congress.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 was needed to fill in the gaps on how the court system would be organized.
Soon, we will look at that act and its provisions.
The controversy surrounding the birth of the U.S. Supreme Court is the first thing we look at.