Monday, February 06, 2017

Contents and Links; Chapter Summaries and Draft Teaching Notes: "Elements of Law and the United States Legal System"

(Washington Monument Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

I recently announced the forthcoming publication by Carolina Academic Press of my Elements of Law and the United States Legal System (ISBN: 978-1-61163-927-8 • e-ISBN: 978-1-61163-984-1).

The work made sense as a century of legalization (here and here) and judicialization (here and here) forces more and more people worldwide to bump up against aspects of aspects of the U.S: legal system.  The system is a complex amalgamation of distinct approaches to legalization, and the mechanics of its implementation, that  tends to be mystifying to everyone, even individuals trained in law elsewhere. Most people tend to be hard pressed to explain the U.S. legal system either to non-lawyers or to foreigners, even sophisticated foreign lawyers or jurists, or for that matter to each other. Most would find it difficult unravel the distinct strands of law in the United States, each of which deeply embedded within their own internally coherent systems of generation, interpretation and application. The object of the book is to make the elements of law within the U.S. legal system more accessible and easier to invoke.

The work is divided into three parts and a historical preface.  The Preface traces the origins of the materials and its objectives.  It suggests as well the challenges of teaching normative or framing concepts around a profession based on the training in technique; in effect the book seeks to expose the underlying normative structures and patterns well embedded within the techniques that tend to center the study  of law and legal subjects. Part I: What is Law? An Introduction,  is divided into two chapters.  Chapter 1 sets out a detailed roadmap for the materials built around an introductory problem that highlights the book's major themes. Chapter 2 then introduces the principal vocabulary, institutions and forms, starting with the issue of the connection between law, justice and the state. Part II: U.S. Law: System and Sub-Systems, then focuses on the principal components that together make up the U.S. legal system. Its five chapters each focus on three forms of law sub-systems.  The first includes law articulated by the courts--common law and equity.  The second touches on law articulated by legislatures--statutes and administrative regulations. The third focuses on emerging systems of governance beyond the state--private regulation, hybrid public-private regulation and social norms. Part III: Hierarchies of Law and Governance: The Relationship Between People, Law, and Government moves from the study of the specific characteristics of legal subsystems to their relationship to government. It speaks to the governmentalization of law. Its four chapters first consider the fundamental theories that tie law to the government, the role of rule of law concepts, the development of hierarchies of law within the domestic legal order of the United States and then the relationship of domestic to international law. Part IV: Institutional Architecture of Law and Governance: The Law of Government of the United States then considers the legal rules through which governmental regulatory authority may be exercised. If Part III spoke to the issue of the governmentalization of law, Part IV touches on the legalization of government. Its four chapters considers the fundamental principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, the constraining of administrative discretion, popular law making through initiative and referendum, and the legal structu8res of federalism. Part V: The Role of the Courts in the Application of Law: Judicial Review, Methodologies of Interpretation, and Legitimacy closes the circle by bringing the focus back to the courts and their engagement with law. The first of its three chapters touches on the doctrine of judicial review and the legalization of the authority to interpret and apply law beyond common law. The second of its chapters then considers the techniques of judicial interpretation and their relationship to judicial legitimacy.  The last of the chapters then considers the binding nat8re of judicial opinion, especially the legal effect of judicial decisions interpreting statute. 

This post serves to organize the contents and links to my on-line discussion of the book.  The Contents and Links; Chapter Summaries and Draft Teaching Notes follows.

Tentative Table of Contents and official book description
may be accessed here.

Chapter Summary Descriptions:

Part I: What is Law? An Introduction
Chapter 1 Roadmap for the Study of the Ideology and Systems of U.S. Law
Chapter 2 The Cast of Characters, Institutions, and Forms: Reading Justinian’s Institutes
Part II: U.S. Law--System and Sub-Systems
Chapter 3 Law Articulated by Courts: The Common Law
Chapter 4 Law Articulated by the Courts: Equity
Chapter 5 Law Articulated by Legislatures: Statutory Law
Chapter 6 Law Articulated by Regulatory Agencies: The Administrative Function
Chapter 7 Beyond Law: The Effects of Law in Social Norms, Contract Communities, and Disclosure Regimes
Part III: Hierarchies of Law and Governance: The Relationship Between People, Law, and Government
Chapter 8 From Law to the State and Its Government Apparatus
Chapter 9 The Relationship of Law and the Government of the State: Role of Law/Rule of Law
Chapter 10 Ordering Government Through Law: Constitutions, Statutes, Treaties, Regulations, Judicial Decisions, and Other Sources
Chapter 11 Hierarchies of Law Within the Domestic Legal Order and Between National and International Law Reflecting Governmental Order
Chapter 12 The General Government: Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

Draft Teaching Notes:


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

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