CHAPTER 1 – WHAT IS LAW?• Part 1 - LAWS AND VALUES• Part 2 - HUMAN RIGHTS• Part 3 - BALANCING RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES• Part 4 - KINDS OF LAWS• Part 5 - OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
PART 1 – LAWS AND VALUES OBJECTIVES• How do laws reflect economic, moral, political, and social values.• List three aspects of a fully effective law.
PART 1 – LAWS AND VALUES• Laws reflect and promote a society’s values• Our laws are influenced by our society’s traditional ideas of RIGHT and WRONG – Ex. – laws against murder reflect the idea that killing someone is wrong (immoral) – Not all things considered immoral are against the law • ex. Adultery
PART 1 – LAWS AND VALUES 7 Goals of our legal system1. Protecting basic human rights2. Promoting fairness3. Helping resolve conflicts4. Promoting desirable social and economic behavior5. Promoting order and stability6. Representing the will of the majority7. Protecting the rights of minorities
PART 1 – LAWS AND VALUES• Our laws require balance – When do the rights of minorities outweigh the will of the majority? (examples) – How do we get people to fulfill their responsibilities without infringing their rights? – How does our government protect us without taking away our civil rights? – How can we protect the rights of some without violating the rights of others? (ex. Smoking)
PART 1 – LAWS AND VALUES Types of Laws• Moral – Deal with right and wrong• Economic – Deal with issues of wealth and money• Political – Reflect relationship between the government and individuals• Social – Concern important issues to society – Deal with how we interact with one another
PART 2 – HUMAN RIGHTS OBJECTIVES• Define human rights, dignity, binding, covenant, taking a reservation• What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?• How does the US enforce international human rights agreements.• Identify examples of human rights violations in the US and elsewhere in the world.
PART 2 – HUMAN RIGHTS WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?• Human Rights – the rights that all people have just because they are human beings – They are not “given”; we are born with them• Both governments and individuals can violate human rights• They exist everywhere: all nations, schools, workplaces, homes
PART 2 – HUMAN RIGHTSUniversal Declaration of Human Rights• Statement of basic human rights and standards that has been agreed on by every nation in the world – Adopted by the UN in 1948 (Eleanor Roosevelt)• All people have the right to liberty, education, political and religious freedom, and the right to make a living• Bans torture• All people have a right to participate in gov.
PART 2 – HUMAN RIGHTS Cultural Rights• It is universally accepted that all people have a right to their own culture• Sometimes a culture comes in conflict with universal human rights – Ex. Female infanticide • Some cultures kill many female babies • Has been done for thousands of years and is commonly accepted • Clearly violates accepted ideas of right to life and not discriminating against women
PART 3 – BALANCING RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OBJECTIVES• What is the relationship between rights and responsibilities?• What are the reasons why critics object to the United States’ emphasis on individual rights?• What is the difference between being right and having a right?
PART 3 – BALANCING RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES• Critics of the US emphasis on people’s individual rights say: – Not enough emphasis on responsibilities • Ex. If you have the right to a fair trial by jury, you ought to be willing to serve on a jury – Self-centered focus and a loss of sense of community or “common good” – “just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do” • Ex. Saying hateful things to someone is protected under freedom of speech, but not necessarily the right thing to do
PART 4 – KINDS OF LAWS OBJECTIVES• What are the differences between criminal laws and civil laws?• What are misdemeanors and felonies?• Define plaintiff, defendant, and beyond a reasonable doubt.
PART 4 – KINDS OF LAWS CRIMINAL LAWS• Regulate public conduct and set out duties owed to society• Criminal cases involve the government bringing legal action against a person charged with a crime (defendant)• Convictions result in a penalty – fine or imprisonment• 2 types of criminal offenses – Felonies (more serious crimes) • Penalties of a year or more in prison – Misdemeanors (less serious crimes) • Penalties of less than a year in prison or jail
PART 4 – KINDS OF LAWS CIVIL LAWS• Regulate relations between individuals or groups of individuals• A civil action is a lawsuit brought by a person (plaintiff) against another person (defendant)• Courts award the injured person money, or make the person who committed the wrong to make up for it in some way• Regulate everyday situations: marriage, divorce, contracts, real estate, insurance, consumer protection, negligence
PART 4 – KINDS OF LAWS Requirement of Proof• Criminal Cases – Require proof beyond a reasonable doubt – If the judge or jury has any doubts about the defendant’s guilt, they must not convict – Prison time or death penalty involved• Civil Cases – Require only proof by a preponderance of the evidence – Jury or judge only needs to decide if it is more likely that the plaintiff’s compliant is true – Much less requirement of proof than reasonable doubt • Only money, not the defendant’s life, on the line• Ex. - O.J. Simpson
PART 5 – OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OBJECTIVES• How does the US Constitution limit the powers of government?• What is Judicial Review and how does it protect individual rights?• How does the Bill of Rights reflect the idea of limited government?
PART 5 – OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK• Limited government – our national government can only pass laws regarding subjects specifically listed in Article 1• Separation of Powers – three branches of government• Judicial Review – the power of the courts’ to declare laws passed by Congress or the states unconstitutional• Bill of Rights – first 10 Amendments that protect individual freedoms – The heart of our laws and of the idea of limited government