October 3, 2004
UNIT ONE AND TWO QUESTIONS
1-4. Which source of law takes priority in the following situations, and why?
a) A federal statute conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.
A. CONSTITUTONAL LAW. Article VI, the Constitution is the supreme law; a law in violation of the Constitution will be declared unconstitutional and won't be enforced.
b) A federal statute conflicts with a state constitutional provision.
A. STATUTORY LAW. A federal statute applies to all states.
c) A state statute conflicts with the common law of that state.
A. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. A state constitution is supreme within the state's borders.
d) A state constitutional amendment conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.
A. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. A state's constitution can't conflict with the U.S. Constitution or a federal law.
1-5. What does stare decisis mean, and why has this doctrine been so fundamental to the development of our legal tradition?
A. Stare decisis is a Latin phrase meaning "to stand on decided cases"; in other words, is a case precedent or statute, that may be binding or nonbinding, and will influence the outcome of future similar cases. It's so fundamental to our legal tradition, because it helps the courts to be more efficient, serving them as a guide, making law more stable and predictable.
2-3. If the use of videotapes as official reports continues will this alter the appellate process? Should it?
A. In my opinion it will alter the appellate process, but not by much, because appellate courts look at questions of law and procedure; in other words, it concerns the application or interpretation of the law and whether it was carried out properly by the trial judge or by a jury. On questions of fact, it can affect the process in the way that the...