Sources and Structure of Law

U.S. laws establish the standards of behavior, the means by which standards are enforced, and the mechanism to guide conduct. There are four primary sources of law within the U.S. legal system:

• Federal and state constitutions

• Federal and state statutes

• Decisions and rules of administrative agencies

• Decisions of the courts

The Constitution

The U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, presided over by George Washington. The U.S. Constitution is also known as the “Supreme Law of the Land.” The Delegates of the Constitutional Convention devised a plan for a stronger federal government and established the executive, legislative, and judicial branches ...

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