This text is designed to introduce students to both private and public law and to the nature of the judicial system. Anchored in social science concepts, The American Legal System demonstrates the relationships between private law and public law issues, the business legal environment, as well as related subjects of interest.
Part I introduces students to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the legal system, the jurisdiction and authority of courts, the organization of courts in the United States, judicial interpretation and decision-making, and the U.S. constitutional system. Part II centers on legal processes--the world of civil and criminal procedure, explained in ordinary language. Subjects include civil suits for money damages; criminal, equity, and administrative processes; and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution. Along the way, students gain a working knowledge of process and procedural rights. Part III provides chapters on the substantive legal topics of criminal law, torts, property, and family law. Part IV treats the law governing the world of business: contracts, business regulation by government, and taxation. All of these substantive law chapters include a section tracing modern substantive law to its common law roots. We also include sections on evolving legal issues including product liability, tort reform, copyright infringement, victimless crimes, youthful offenders, artificial conception of human life, and same-sex marriages.
Every chapter features edited court opinions illustrating many lively and interesting controversies that will capture the interest of students regardless of their academic major. At the beginning of each chapter, students will find chapter objectives designed to guide their reading. A glossary of selected legal and Latin terms will also prove useful to the reader, as will the end-of-chapter discussion questions, lists of key names, terms, and concepts, and listings of selected books and articles for further reading. A table of cases as well as name and subject indices provides even greater detail, so that readers may also use the book as a reference. A comprehensive Instructor's Manual/Testing Program (which includes complete lecture outlines, suggested answers to the discussion questions at the end of each chapter, briefs of court opinions, and suggested films for classroom use) is available, either in book or electronic form. A Student Study Guide, written by Bradley Best (Buena Vista University), is also available.show more