The United States is one of the countries that had established its judicial system long before many countries attained their independence. Laws that are found in the U.S. have been there for more than a hundred years. These laws date back to when America was a British colony. This clearly depicts that this country has matured over a long period of time in law making. Laws in this country have been influenced by the circumstances that come our way. Many factors affect our community and the way we handle them forces us to create laws that would govern our way of living.
Lots of procedures have to be followed when a bill needs to become law. First the bill is introduced into the House and has to be scrutinized by a special committee. When it passes that level it is then subjected to a further debate on the floor of the House (Wood, 1988). If it passes this stage, it is taken to the Senate where it is deliberated even more before it is taken to the president for the presidential assent, making it into law.
In the above description on how a law is made, I have literally assumed that it was not rejected amended or shelved. Many bills that have been presented to the lawmakers have never seen the light of day. Most of them even do not pass the initial stages (Wood, 1988). There are a lot of processes that the bill needs to go through before it becomes law. So for a bill to pass, it must be clear and straightforward. It must have been well researched upon. Needless to say that it must be an issue that is of utmost relevance and has to deal with a new situation that had not been there prior to this bill.
According to Jennings (2009) the creation of laws in this great nation has been directed and influenced by many factors. These factors range from the British Law as well as the Common Law. I cannot fathom the way these laws were created. As a matter of fact, lawyers are still grappling with the origin and the source of these laws. However, I will try to create an opinion on how these laws have evolved and developed. I am unable at this moment to discuss where these laws came from.
To start with, creation of the U.S. laws was majorly based on the freedom that it had attained. As Jennings (2009) note many issues arising after independence had to find a legal ground on which to be judged. This legal ground had to be free and fair to all. Nevertheless, the creation of these laws were not easy to create due to the fact that they had to incorporate the various races that were there at that time and still that are there even now.
Slavery had not been abolished when some of these laws were created and this necessitated the reviewing and or the amending of some of the laws that oppressed the persons who were not natives of the U.S (O’neil, 2005). As a result, this became a major obstacle in the achievement of equality in this nation. However, this was achieved with time.
Other factors that influenced the creation some of the U.S. laws was the need to protect the rights of each of its citizens. Being a secular country, there has been a great conflict between the Church and the State in matters that arise in the society (O’neil, 2005). In this case, the lawmakers had to come up with laws that do not infringe on the rights of others.
Cooley, Hitchcock & Biddle (2009) observed that not being a religious state has forced the U.S. to try as much as possible to give room to both parties. Atheist, pagans, Muslims, Christians and other religions have been factored in the creation of laws in the U.S. This was towards the middle of the 19th century.
Common law is the law made from the decisions judges make on a specific case. This is not a written law unlike the statutory law. This law comes into existence when a bench of judges and decide on a case using their own intellect and common sense (Cooley, Hitchcock & Biddle, 2009). This will eventually mean that the more decisions the judges make, the more this law is strengthened.
The decisions made will then be used frequently in deciding similar cases. This would be done in order to maintain consistency and to avoid bias. This law, developed from decisions, would then become common or customary to the people living who are on that jurisdiction. They would embrace this law and therefore live according to it so that they do not get in trouble. (Cooley, Hitchcock & Biddle, 2009).
The common law was adopted in the American legal systems in the state and federal constitutions after the Revolution. As I had highlighted earlier on, this law was to a large extent gotten from the British system and was compiled by Sir William Blackstone in the 18th century. This law includes the criminal law as well as the civil law.
As we have seen the laws in the U.S. has been largely influenced by the common law. Most of the current law has its roots in the common law (Haines, 2009). Not forgetting to mention is the fact that statutes in the statutory law are rooted in the common law tradition and that judges refer to this tradition when making a decision.
It is not in doubt that the common law has played a major role in the crafting of the U.S. law. And in any case where the law is not clear, the common law comes in to clarify. An example of this is when a case has occurred between people of different states and there is no federal law to rule on it.
The U.S. Supreme Court at times use past cases in deciding present cases and this clearly depicts the common law heritage. The use of such precedent cases to the present sets a good ground on which future cases will be judged (Oberholtzer, 2008). This means that the Supreme Court is a common law court. The U.S. Court has also had its fair share in the creation of the U.S. laws. This is because the judgments in these courts have influenced how later bills will be drafted. This includes what bills to be drafted. As a result, what the judges seem fit and just, should be law. In this case a bill drafted should sway in this direction if it needs to become law (Haines, 2009). For example, it is the Judiciary Act of 1789 that established the federal court system. Were it not for such a ruling, there would not be such a legal system today. Another judgment that has indeed influenced the US law is the introduction of a federal circuit by a court ruling.
Many more landmark rulings which the courts have made have influenced the creation of laws in this country. The rulings on equity, rights of employees, citizenship and many more crucial issues have been decided upon by the courts (Haines, 2009). The courts judgments have created a foundation on how the U.S laws will be. Currently, these courts’ rulings affect the way the present judges think and how they make their decisions.
I am certain that these issues have and will continue impacting majorly on the creation of laws. They should however make it easier for a average citizen to have his issues heard and perhaps a system where people can be assisted in the drafting of a bill, should be easily accessible (Haines, 2009). Special considerations to be made when creating a law are historic events as well as the current events that necessitate the creation of a new law. Historic judgments should help assist in the creating of new law. Another aspect to be considered is the feelings of people as well as the needs of the citizens. When law is being created, let it not favor some people and discriminate on others.
Wood, G. S. (1988). The creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.
Jennings, F. (2009). The creation of America: through revolution to empire. New York: Cambridge University Press.
O’neil, J. G. (2005) .Originalism in American law and politics: a constitutional history. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press
Cooley, T. M., Hitchcock, H. & Biddle, G. (2009). Constitutional History of the United States as Seen in the Development of American Law. BiblioBazaar, LLC.
Haines, L. (2009). Law Making in America. General Books
Oberholtzer, E. P. (2008).The Referendum in America: A Discussion of Law-Making by Popular Vote. BiblioBazaar