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American Law

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Common Law

America's legal system is based upon the English principles of common law. English legal system based on common law. Common law uses precedent, making rulings based on previous rulings. This is a principle known as state decisis, which translates as "to stand on decided cases."

There are two major advantages to common law: efficiency and stability. Common law is efficient because lower courts all work by the same set of rules. Also, it is stable because future decisions can usually be predicted based on prior decisions.

Sources of Law

Sources of American law are:

  1. The Constitution, which enumerates each branch's powers, and important rights held by individuals.

  2. Statutes, which are any law and include presidential signing statements.

  3. Administrative law, enacted by bureaucracies.

  4. Case Law, consisting of judicial opinions and providing the basis for common law.