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Sources of Law of the United States
(Источники права в США)

The law of the United States was originally largely derived [происходить] from the common law [общее право (традиционное некодифицированное право Великобритании)] of the system of English law, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War. However, the supreme law of the land is the United States Constitution and, under the Constitution's Supremacy [[sju'premqsI] верховенство] Clause [Supremacy Clause положение о верховенстве (общенационального права) Фундаментальное конституционное положение, изложенное в статье VI Конституции США, о примате общенационального (федерального) закона над законами штатов.], laws enacted [принятый (о законе)] by Congress and treaties to which the U.S. is a party. These form the basis for federal laws under the federal constitution in the United States, limiting the boundaries of the jurisdiction [юрисдикция, территория в подведомственности органа власти] of federal law and the laws in the fifty U.S. states and territories.

In the United States, the law is derived from four sources. These four sources are constitutional law [конституционное право, государственное право], administrative law [административное право], statutes [закон, законодательный акт парламента; статут, statutory law статутное право, право, основанное на законодательных актах], and the common law (which includes case law). The most important source of law is the United States Constitution, and everything falls under [попадать в (сферу действия чего-л.)], and is subordinate to, it. No law may contradict the United States Constitution. For example, if Congress passes a statute that conflicts with the constitution, the Supreme Court may find that law unconstitutional, and strike it down [опротестовать, расторгнуть].

American common law

Although the United States and most Commonwealth countries are heirs to the common law legal tradition of English law, American law tends to be unique in many ways. This is because the American legal system was separated from the British system by the Revolution, and afterwards, it evolved independently from the British Commonwealth legal systems. Therefore, when attempting to trace the development of traditional judge-made common law principles, that is, the few that have not already been overridden by newer laws, American courts will look at British cases only up to [вплоть до] the early 19th century.

Federal law [федеральное право, федеральный закон]

Federal law in the United States originates with the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to enact statutes for certain limited purposes like regulating commerce. Nearly all statutes have been codified in the United States Code [Кодекс Соединенных Штатов Многотомный свод федеральных законов и поправок к ним. Переиздается раз в шесть лет, в остальные годы выходят приложения-ежегодники. Состоит из 50 тематических разделов [title]; первые 6 посвящены законам общего характера, остальные публикуются в алфавитном порядке.]. Many statutes give executive branch agencies the power to create regulations, which are published in the Code of Federal Regulations ["Свод федеральных нормативных актов" Собрание нормативных актов федерального правительства США, официальное издание правительственной документации] and also carry the force of law. Many lawsuits [судебный процесс; иск; тяжба] give a federal statute or regulation the meaning, and judicial interpretations of such meaning carry legal force under the principle of stare decisis ["стоять на решенном" ("принятое решение остается в силе") Принцип общего права [common law], применяемого в США, согласно которому решение, принятое судом более высокой инстанции (обычно Верховным судом США или штата), имеет силу прецедента и становится обязательным для всех аналогичных дел и для всех судов низшей инстанции и остается таковым до принятия нового решения с отменой предыдущего].

State law [право штата; закон штата]

The fifty American states are separate and sovereign ones with their own constitutions and retain plenary power [полномочия] to make laws covering anything not reserved by the federal Constitution or federal statutes. Nearly all states started with the same British common law base, although Louisiana law has always been strongly influenced by the French Napoleonic Code, but the passage of time has resulted in enormous diversity in the laws of the states. Over time, state courts expanded the old common law rules in different directions (through their traditional power to make law under stare decisis), and state legislatures passed various statutes expanding or overriding [иметь преимущественное юридическое действие] such judge-made rules.

Unlike other common law jurisdictions, all American states have codified some or all of their statutory law into legal codes, which was an idea borrowed from the civil law through the efforts of American lawyer David Dudley Field. New York's codes are known as "Laws." California and Texas simply call them "Codes." Most other states use "Revised Statutes [статут с внесёнными в него поправками]," "Compiled Statutes [сборник действующего законодательства; свод законов]," or some other name for their codes. California, New York, and Texas have separate subject-specific codes, while all other states and the federal government use a single code divided into numbered titles.

In some states, codification is often treated as a mere [[mIq] простой] restatement [свод права, свод норм] of the common law. Judges are free to liberally interpret the codes unless and until their interpretations are specifically overridden by the legislature. In other states, there is a tradition of strict adherence [строгое соблюдение] to the plain text of the codes.

In jurisdictions with uncodified statutes, like the United Kingdom, it is much harder to determine what the current law is. One has to trace back to the earliest relevant Act of Parliament, and then identify all later Acts which purported [[pq'pLt] иметь целью] to amend the earlier Act or which directly overrode it. For example, when the UK decided to create a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, it had to identify every single Act referring to the House of Lords that was still good law [действующее право], and then amend all of them to refer to [ссылаться] the Supreme Court.

However, American codes are not the direct equivalents of their civil law counterparts [эквивалент; аналог], and should not be confused with them. American codes do not have complete internal logical coherence [последовательность]. They have been labeled mere "collections of statutes" due to the failure of all levels of government to allocate adequate resources [распределять ресурсы] towards maintaining the internal coherence of the codes.

Even worse, some states were never able to reconcile [согласовывать] the old common law lawmaking model with the concept of codification. For example, California codes are to be liberally construed [толковать] as a continuation of the common law to the extent that they harmonize with the common law or pre-code statutes. This confusing [сбивать с толку] compromise has created a continuing state of chaos in the judge-made law of California statutory interpretation [толкование закона].

Criminal law

In the arena of criminal law, all states have somewhat similar laws in regard to [относительно] "higher crimes," such as murder and rape, although penalties for these crimes may vary from state to state. Additionally, state laws dealing with drug crimes vary widely, with some states treating possession of small amounts of drugs as an offense [правонарушение] and others categorizing the same offense as a serious felony [уголовное преступление].

However, for public-welfare [общее благо, общественное благосостояние, общественное благоденствие] offenses where the state is punishing merely risky (as opposed to injurious [[In'dZuqrIqs] наносящий вред]) behavior, there is significant diversity across the various states. For example, the laws controlling drunk driving were rather unstandardized prior to the 1990s.

Tort law [tort - деликт, гражданское правонарушение]

United States tort law for personal injury tends to vary widely across the states. For example, a few jurisdictions allow actions for negligent infliction [причинение (вреда) по небрежности] of emotional distress even in the absence of physical injury, but most do not. With practically any tort, there is a "majority rule" [принцип большинства, правило принятия решений большинством голосов] adhered to by most states, and one or more "minority rules."

Local law

States have delegated lawmaking powers to a number of agencies, counties, cities, and special districts. And all the state constitutions, statutes and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation like their federal counterparts.

Thus, at any given time, the average American citizen is subject to the rules and regulations of several dozen different agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, depending upon one's current location and behavior.


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