The United States operates a well-defined legal or law making system. It is made up of several levels which make up the codified and un-codified laws, but the most important of this is the United States constitution which applies to every citizen of the country. The constitution influences every federal law by keeping them in check and also acts as the basis and the foundation upon which the United States Federal Government rests. This affirmation makes it correct to say that the US legal system is formulated from the federal Constitution.
Law Making Process
Laws that are operational in the US today were once just an idea which had to go through the rigorous screening process of the United State Congress and the President. The Congress comprises of two important Legislative branches: the Senate and House of Representatives. Members of these bodies or branches come up with ideas for new laws from time to time which they feel will move the States and Country forward.
Any member who comes up with an idea for a law will have to draw up a rough draft and sponsor it before it can become a bill. The bill then goes to whichever legislative branch the Representative or Senator belongs to in the Senate or House. At this branch, the bill is subject to change and some strategic amendments or total blockage so that there is no vote on it. In a case where the legislative branch votes for the bill, it will then move to the other branch where a similar process is carried out again before it is sent to the House or Senate for approval after another round of voting.
A majority vote by the Senate and House and approval of all changes made, now qualifies the bill to be sent to the President. It is at the President’s desk that the bill is either signed into law, passed into law without a signature and in some cases vetoing it.
The US Legal Structure
Taking a critical look at the United States Legal system, you get the idea that it is somewhat complicated but in the actual sense it is just a system that consists of the Federal and State organizational structure. In order to fully get a grasp of the US legal system, you need to know which laws have the highest priority and controlling effect.
We have earlier established that the US Constitution is the prime of all the laws of the land followed by the laws created by the Congress. Although the Constitution is the ultimate, the Federal Congress can also make laws that influence the states directly unless they have a direct application to the States under Court directives and the US Constitution.
The States have a legislature that acts as a body which formulates its local laws formally called the “statutes”.