The United States legal system is a system that every American citizen should be familiar with. It is very important for the people to understand their rights and how the laws of the country work and what they stand for. In America, there are both federal and state laws and depending on where a person lives, it affects what laws are put in place and what rights they possess. Even if an individual just learned the basics, former Superior Court judge Andrew Napolitano stresses to the American people that they have rights and they should express them when necessary.
Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of New Jersey. After graduating from Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School, he sat on the judge’s bench from 1987-1995. During his time, he presided over 150 jury trials. He is currently the Fox News’s Senior Judicial Analyst regularly reports on the government when he believes they interfere with personal liberty and human freedoms. He is known as a “nationally-recognized champion” of personal freedom. Due to his background, he strives to educate the public on their rights and stresses that the government does not have the power to strip those rights away. For one to be able to recognize when the government is overstepping, they must educate themselves on the legal system to know right from wrong.
The United States legal system was mainly stemmed from the common law system of English law. Most laws are outlined by the U.S. Constitution, such as bills and general search warrants. In the system, U.S. judges make laws as well as apply them and these laws become the precedent for future legal decisions. Now, what about federal laws versus state laws? How do they differ and who is in charge of making those decisions? Andrew Napolitano directs the answers to those questions below.
State laws are where most laws in the United States consist. In every state, there is a legislative branch which puts state statutes into action. They also have an executive branch that promotes state regulations. And finally, they have the judicial branch that can apply as well as overturn statutes regulations and ordinances. Again, these laws and regulations are different depending on the state.
Unlike state laws, federal laws must be dealt with between the Congress and the president of the United States. Once a bill is presented, it must be approved by both the house of representatives and the senate and receive a signature from the president. However, if the president vetoes a bill, Congress can pass the veto and make the bill into a law without the president’s signature. Much like state laws, there seems to be an equal distribution of power between the 3 branches.
Andrew Napolitano believes that the importance of learning about the United States legal system is to retain knowledge about the ins and outs of the U.S. government. The government is extremely powerful, but it is important to remember that under the Constitution, citizens also possess power and it will always remain that way. Many people like Napolitano never want to see the day when the U.S. government becomes too powerful and takes total control of the nation. They believe that an equal distribution of power is the best way to avoid a potential abusive nature with that power. Since this country was founded, it is known as the land of the free and it’s citizen desire to live in a country where everyone has an equal opportunity to become successful without the government standing in their way.