Most commonwealth member states as well as the US adopted the common laws used legally by the English. However, certain practices previously accepted by the English laws are outlawed by the current US constitution. Common law courts in the US have over the time become stater desicis. This means that common law judges are not only mandated to apply the law but they also create laws. In this context, court decisions become precedents for future case rulings.
English law was formally applied in the US through various ways. With the exclusion of Louisiana, all states in the US applied the reception statue that states that the English law is the state law. Another way that the English law became applicable in the US is that most states in the US reenacted the important British statues during the Revolution. One of the statues commonly adapted from the Revolution period is the statue of fraud still commonly used by that name in the US.
During early times, American courts hardly cited contemporary English laws. This was as a result of appellate decisions from most American courts not being regularly reported. However with time, English legal decisions disappeared in the 19th century which was as a result of American courts becoming more independent in solving legal problems. According to Carp, today in US courts, foreign laws are never cited as precedent but may be cited as a reflection with regards to western civilization (Carp & Stidham, 2001).
There are various types of law in the US. Procedural law is one type of law that controls court procedures. Under this are two subdivisions that are criminal procedure and civil procedure. The criminal procedure provides guidelines for the creation and operation of law enforcement agents including the prison system. The civil procedure on the other hand governs the process of legal proceedings between private parties. A total of 35 states have adopted the civil procedure guidelines under the FRCP.
The other type of law is the criminal law. Which involves the prosecution of illegal acts or those considered to be a breach of sovereign peace? Some of the criminal offences can result to incarceration. Most of the crimes committed are prosecuted and punished in individual states. According to Dunham, although different states differ in the procedure of prosecution and punishment, penalties for high crimes such as murder and rape go as far as capital punishment (Dunham 2008).
Contract law is the other type of law that covers obligations of binding agreement between two or more parties. Under the Federal Arbitration Act, disputes arising from contacts are agreed upon by the involved parties under the contract law. Tort law is a type of law that covers to a larger extent the wrongs different individuals inflict on one another in the course of their interaction. Even in the absence of physical infliction or injury, wrongs by individuals against others are punishable by law.
One of the methods for the creation of US law is through the courts. Although federal courts have a jurisdiction to federal common law, such laws must be closely related to the constitution interpretation of the same. State courts can create laws even in the absence of constitutional or statutory provision. However, federal courts however have limited jurisdiction over state laws in the absence of a federal issue. The creation and interpretation of US law is bound under the US Supreme Court (Posner 1999).
Most laws are developed form an idea. This can come from an individual, group or even a legislative committee. The legislative assembly is mandated to create, amend or replenish laws. All statues with the exception of those proposed by the legislative assembly must be enacted through a bill. A bill is first handed to the governor for approval. Before a bill becomes law, it has to be approved by both the house and the senate. Revenue bills however must be introduced in the house.
When a bill is represented to a representative, the representative introduced the bill in the House of Representatives and the bill is drafted in a proper legally accepted language. It is then assigned a bill number by the chief clerk of the house and is sent to the Legislative Counsel's office for verification. The bill is then sent to the House of Representatives for the first reading. The bill is referred to the committee for determination of both the fiscal and revenue impacts over its implementation.
After extensive consultation by the committee, the bill is presented before the house for the final vote. In case of any amendments, the bill is reprinted to include the changes. The second reading before the house is done and the bill is finally recited in the third reading. After receiving the majority vote, the bill is sent to the senate and if approved by the senate without changes, it requires the signature of the speaker of the house, the senate president and the chief clerk.
During the creation, amendments or replenish of laws, the process should be free from individualistic ideology. The proposals in a bill should not represent the interest of an individual or a small group but should serve the interest of the majority. A law should also not be seen to contravene previous set legislation. Newly created laws should conform to previous set legislations as well as international laws.
When a proposed bill is eventually signed by the president into law, or enacted by majority vote by the congress, it is handed over to the Office of the Federal register who is in charge of the national Archives and records Administration. During this process, the bill is assigned a law number and is eventually prepared for publication as a slip law. As described by Dunham, after the end of each congress sessions, all slip laws are compiled in a Statues at Large which is a chronological representation of laws in the order of their enactment (Dunham 2008).