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The U.S. Constitution divides the powers of government into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Generally speaking, the legislative branch, Congress, makes the nation's laws. The executive branch enforces the laws through the president and various executive offices. The judicial branch, made up of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, decides cases that arise under the laws.
This division of government is called the separation of powers. The separation of powers is supposed to prevent tyranny. Tyranny is random or unfair government action that can result when one person has all the power to make, enforce, and interpret the laws.
In addition to the broad...
Search and Seizure: What is the case of Robbins vs California about?
This case is about searches and seizures that are conducted without a warrant. Specifically, it was about whether the police would need to have a warrant in order to unwrap two packages wrapped in opaque green plastic and placed in the trunk of a car. In this case, the Supreme Court held that the police had no right to open and search the packages without a warrant.
In this case, Robbins was stopped while driving and the police smelled marijuana when he opened the car door. They searched the car and found the two packages in a baggage compartment under the trunk (such as where a spare tire might be kept). They opened the packages and found marijuana.
In this case, the Court ruled that the police had acted...
A corporation is a distinct legal entity created by STATUTE. CORPORATIONS have many of the same legal rights and obligations as do individuals. They can own and sell property, they can hold profits or acquire debts, they can enter into contracts and sue or be sued, and governments can tax them. Corporations are advantageous primarily because they become legal entities that are...
Law: What does the legislative branch do?
In federal and state government, the legislative branch's primary function is to make laws, (to legislate means to make laws),but in the federal government, the legislature has a few other responsibilities, too. It is important for you to understand, though, that whether we are talking about the federal legislature, which is Congress, or the legislature of a particular state, the rights and responsibilites of this branch are controlled by constitutions. For Congress, the United States Constitution controls what can be done, and in the case of state legislatures, each state constitution controls what that particular legislature can do. This is why a knowledge of the particular constitution is so very important....
Law of Twelve Tables
Arkansas v. Sanders: What is this case of Arkansas vs. Sanders about?
This case is about searches and seizures of private property taken from a car that has legally been stopped by the police. It has to do with whether the police can search such property without a warrant. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the police need to have a warrant to search private property taken from a car.
In general, the police need to have warrants to search private property. However, one exception to this is when the private property is in a car and may be driven away and destroyed. In that case, the police have the right to search and seize the property to prevent the destruction of evidence.
In this case, Lonnie Sanders was arrested while riding in a taxi. He had a suitcase full of...
Quiz: Affordable Care Act
This quiz covers the basics of the Affordable Care Act.
Law: What are the benefits of a joint effort between police and social services when...
The social worker has the child or family members best interest in mind when investigating a suspected incident or complaint. Many times it is imperative that agencies work together to ensure safety for the social worker or if a need arises to remove a child from a home. Often times a criminal investigation will arise from a complaint or statement made to the social worker. The social worker cannot undertake a criminal investigation as to rape or physical assault. However, often times these investigations are pursuant to a social worker's report on an incident.
A social worker has authority to "protect" a child if they believe that harm has or will come to that child even though they may not have enough evidence that...
Statutes, court decisions, and provisions of the federal and state constitutions that relate to family relationships, rights, duties, and finances.
The law relating to family disputes and obligations has grown dramatically since the 1970s, as legislators and judges have reexamined and redefined legal relationships surrounding DIVORCE, CHILD CUSTODY, and CHILD SUPPORT. Family law has become entwined with national debates over the structure of the family, gender bias, and morality. Despite many changes made by state and federal legislators, family law remains a contentious area of U.S. law, generating strong emotions from those who have had to enter the legal process.
Cicero on Laws
McCulloch v. Maryland
Article abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the doctrine of implied powers, giving broad authority to the federal government over state governments.
Summary of Event
From its inception, the Constitution of 1787 has stirred controversy as to the nature of the Union that it created and the extent of federal authority. The Civil War would in 1865 settle certain outstanding questions as to the nature of the Union, but a more articulate consideration of the problem was provided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1819 in the landmark case of McCulloch v. Maryland.
The arguments surrounding the case were as old as the Constitution itself. Although the Constitutional...
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States: What connection does Heart of Atlanta Motel v....
This case is connected to the Constitution because it held that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution can be used by Congress to justify banning racial discrimination in public accommodations.
In 1881, a set of cases called the Civil Rights Cases were decided by the Supreme Court. These cases held that the 14th Amendment could not be applied to privately owned businesses. In other words, the 14th Amendment applied only to government actions, not to the actions of private businesses. In 1964, however, the US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law said that even private businesses could not discriminate on the basis of race. The Heart of Atlanta Motel sued because it wanted to continue to exclude...
Sentencing Reform Act (1984)
Barry L. Johnson
Excerpt from the Sentencing Reform Act
There is established as an independent commission in the judicial branch of the United States a United States Sentencing Commission which shall consist of seven voting members and one nonvoting member.... The purposes of the United States Sentencing Commission are to (1) establish sentencing policies and practices for the Federal criminal justice system that (A) assure the meeting of the purposes of sentencing ... (B) provide certainty and fairness in meeting the purposes of sentencing, avoiding unwarranted sentencing disparities...
Law: How does a court determine if the confession or statement is given voluntarily?In 15th...
Confessions are normally accepted only if the defendant has been read his rights under Miranda vs. Arizona which formally advises him of his rights under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Any waiver of those rights is normally made in writing. At any point in criminal proceedings, the defendant has the right to challenge his confession if he believes he was coerced. It is then up to the trial judge to determine if the defendant did in fact freely and knowingly waive his right to remain silent and to be represented by counsel.
Courts have the option to reject a plea of guilty if they believe that the plea or confession was coerced in any fashion. Pleas of guilty are accepted only if the Court is convinced beyond a...
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Article abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court defines racial quotas in preferential admissions programs to be unconstitutional yet also declares that an applicant’s race can be a consideration.
Summary of Event
The case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, better known as the Bakke case, led to a significant U.S. Supreme Court civil rights decision. It was the first case concerning the constitutionality of preferential college admissions programs to be heard by the Supreme Court. Although the decision of the Court settled some questions concerning the legality of race-conscious admissions processes, the lack of a majority opinion in the case left other questions...
Law, Federal Emergency Management Agency: Are emergency management and emergency...
Yes, there is a difference between emergency preparedness and emergency management. Preparedness happens before emergency; management happens after the emergency has taken place.
Emergency planning involves organizing resources and personnel to be ready to react in case of an emergency. Different types of groups and equipment may be needed to deal with different kinds of emergency situations. Emergency planning could include creating and publicizing evacuation routes, assigning responsibilities to take care of specific parts of a community's infrastructure, and so on.
Emergency management involves coordinating all the necessary services during and after an emergency has occurred. Protecting the public, helping the...
Compromise of 1850
Article abstract: A last national attempt to resolve the question of slavery in the territories brings the nation closer to civil war.
Summary of Event
The United States’ acquisition of large land areas following the annexation of Texas in 1845 and the Mexican Cession that followed the Mexican War’s end reopened the issue of slavery in the territories for most people in the United States. During the same period, most citizens embraced the idea of manifest destiny and its call for United States’ expansion and eventual control of the continent.
Beginning in the 1830’s, thousands of settlers officially left the United States when they crossed the Mississippi River, intent on harvesting...
Law: In what ways have our historic roots affected the manner in which criminal...
I would argue that the major way in which our historic roots have affected modern criminal investigations comes in the way that the 4th, and to some extent 5th, amendments have influenced our system.
These amendments were created because of the Founders' fear of intrusive government. This fear of government is one of our major historical roots. The amendments that came out of it have made it so that criminal investigations even today must be conducted with a great deal of sensitivity to the rights of the accused. We protect the rights of the accused against unreasonable searches and against forced confessions. We also protect (6th amendment) their right to be tried by a jury.
All of these protections affect the...
Selective Service System
PARENT ORGANIZATION: Independent
ADDRESS: 1515 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22209-2425
PHONE: (703) 605-4000
FAX: (703) 605-4106
DIRECTOR: Gil Coronado
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Willie L. Blanding, Jr.
WHAT IS ITS MISSION?
For more than 50 years, the Selective Service System (SSS) has furnished a backup system for providing the U.S. armed forces with personnel. The mission of the Selective Service System is simple and limited to two functions: providing manpower to the armed forces in an...
Articles of Confederation: Which important powers did the national government lack under the...
The US government under the Articles of Confederation lacked many important powers. Some of these were specific powers but others were more general.
Generally, the national government simply looked weak. It had no chief executive and no judiciary. This meant that the national government had no power to enforce or even to interpret laws that it passed. This made it weak in general ways.
The government also lacked several specific powers. It lacked the power to regulate trade between the states or between the states and foreign governments. This meant that trade wars could break out between states. It also meant that the US could not create any trade policies with foreign countries. When the British closed...