( Law: A body of enforceable rules governing relationships among individuals and between individuals and their society.
( Natural Law: A system of universal moral and ethical principles that are inherent in human nature and that people can discover by using their natural intelligence (e.g., murder is wrong; parents are responsible for the acts of their minor children).
( Positive Law: The conventional, or written, law of a particular society at a particular point in time (e.g., the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Securities Act, the Internal Revenue Code, and published judicial decisions).
( Jurisprudence: The study of different schools of legal philosophy and how each can affect judicial decisionmaking.
( The Natural Law School presupposes that positive law derives its legitimacy from natural law and holds that, to the extent that natural law and positive law differ, natural law must prevail.
( The Positivist School holds that there is no higher law than that created by legitimate governments and that such laws must be obeyed, even if they appear unjust or otherwise at odds with natural law.
( The Historical School emphasizes the evolutionary process of law by concentrating on the origin and history of a legal system and holds that law derives its legitimacy and authority through the test of time.
( Legal Realism contends that positive law cannot be applied in the abstract; rather, judges should take into account the specific circumstances of each case, as well as economic and social realities.
( The Sociological School views law as a tool for promoting social justice.
PRIMARY SOURCES OF AMERICAN LAW
( There are four primary sources of domestic law:
(1) Constitutions, setting forth the fundamental rights of the people living within the United States or a given state, describing and empowering the various branches of government, and prescribing limitations on that power;
(2) Statutes, enacted by Congress or the legislature of a given state and ordinances adopted by a given locality;
( A given state statute may be based on a uniform law (e.g., the Uniform Commercial Code) or on a model act (e.g., the Model Business Corporations Act). However, each state is free to depart from the uniform law or model act as it sees fit.
(3) Administrative Rules and Regulations promulgated by federal, state, and local regulatory agencies; and
(4) Common law, which is the body of judicial decisions that interpret and enforce any of the foregoing as well as those relationships among individuals or between individuals and their society which are not subject to constitutional, statutory, or administrative law.
HIERARCHY AMONG PRIMARY
SOURCES OF AMERICAN LAW
( Laws emanating from the various primary sources of American law are enforced according to the following hierarchy:
(1) The United States Constitution takes precedence over
(2) federal statutory law, which takes precedence over
(3) a state constitution, which takes precedence over
(4) state statutory law, which takes precedence over
(5) a local ordinance, which takes precedence over
(6) administrative rules and rulings, which take precedence over
(7) common law.
LAW VS. EQUITY
( From their origin in the late Eleventh Century, common law courts were typically classified as either “courts of law” or “courts of equity.”
( Courts of Law were empowered only to award wronged parties money or other valuable compensation for their injuries or other losses.
( Courts of Equity, by contrast, were empowered to award any manner of non-monetary relief, such as ordering a person to do something (a.k.a. “specific performance”) or to cease doing something (a.k.a. “injunction”).
( In most of the United States the courts of law and equity have