The Americans followed the English law during the American Revolutionary War, which is why most of the law followed in the United States are derived from the English law itself. However, the Americans ensured that their law has more of an American touch to it, which led to the further amendments. These amendments were dutifully thought over and considered before being incorporated into the law. The current American Law is the amalgamation of the age-old English Law and the American civil law innovations.
The law in America is derived from five sources –
- Constitutional law
- Statutory law
- Common law
- Administrative Regulations
The legal system in the United States is multi-tiered. The Constitution is the guideline on the basis of which the federal law is created. This federal law includes acts which are approved by the Congress, treaties ratified by the Senate, amendments proposed by the executive branch and various case laws that stream from the federal judiciary.
The process of creating a law in America is pretty simple – anything that goes against what the constitution states are invalid and does not secure its place in the American law. The American system of law is precisely how any systematic system of law would be, with the Legislative making the rules, the Executive implementing these laws and the judiciary doing their best to protect these laws. Many statutes in the federal law give the executive the power to create laws, which is a plus point because the executive is that face of the law which is in most interaction with the general public, and it is the executive which knows what laws to formulate to cater to the ever-changing needs of the citizens.
The Federal Law:
Better known as the constitution, the Federal law has main aspects concerning the nation under its wings. You can easily find all laws related to the intellectual property, foreign relations, money matters, trade and commerce, military and others under the purview of the federal law.
The State Law:
Typically, all 50 states of America have their own state laws, which of course, are well within what the constitution permits. It is indeed a surprising fact that every state has amended and formulated their respective laws according to their requirements, and now, no American state has the same state law. These state laws are not subject to any federal interpretations and, every court sitting in any respective state has to interpret the State law in the manner prescribed by that very state – which makes it pretty clear that the state interpretation overrides the federal interpretation of the state law.
The United States Congress passes these acts and undergo a three-step process to finally find their place in the United States Code, which is a compilation of all the statutes that are passed by the Congress. The three steps are – slip laws, session laws and finally codification.
These are laws created by the federal agencies and the executive and find their way into the Code of Federal Regulations. The governmental regulations include permanent and general regulations, which undergo a series of procedures before they are finally approved and codified.
There is no federal common law, and common law can be created as per the needs of the case. Only aspects to consider while creating these precedents are public policy and fundamental fairness. In the absence of any guidelines, the federal law, or the other sources of law can always be consulted, and then such precedents can be created.