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Legislative and Administrative Process
Southern Illinois University School of Law
Mekel, Michele L.

I. Sources of American Law
a. US Constitution (MOST AUTHORITATIVE-trumps ALL)
b. State Constitutions
c. Common Law – Federal & State
d. Statutes – Federal & State
e. Rules of Court
i. Other than FRCP (which are made by US Congress)
f. Regulations made by agencies – Federal & State
i. IF legislative authority to do so…
ii. Least authoritative
II. Why Separation of Powers Among Branches of Gov’t & System of Checks & Balances?
a. General
i. Declaration of Independence lists some of the King’s abuses of power—including executive, legislative & judicial
ii. Drafters of Constitution found mechanisms to ensure top executive—the President—could NOT usurp power & become dictator
iii. Also ensured no one branch of government would have disproportionate authority by designating specific powers to each—including a system of checks & balances on & among branches (each branch has different but equal powersà Art. 1 US Constitution)
1. Each branch with its OWN powers
2. No branch superior to others
3. Branches dependent on each other
4. Each branch has checks on the power of the other 2 branches
b. Branches
i. Legislative Powers (Congress)
1. Granted by:
a. Art. I § 1 of US Constitutionà “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives”
2. Enumerated powers (including)à listed in Art. 1 § 8 (specifically listed powers which help prevent giving too much power too far from the people (federal vs. state powers))
a. Tax
b. Pay debts of US
c. Borrow money
d. Print money
e. Enact statutes
f. Create federal courts (other than and inferior to US Supreme Court)
g. Declare war
3. Limits
a. Congress canNOT:
i. Suspend writ of habeas corpus (no one can be arrested without proper charge)
ii. Pass Ex Post Facto Laws (retrospective law passing)
iii. Abridge freedoms of religion, speech, press or assembly
iv. Take life, liberty or property without due process of law
v. Enforce cruel and unusual punishment
4. Checks & Balances
a. Within own house
i. House and Senate can veto each other’s bills
b. Checks on judicial
i. Funds courts but cannot reduce salaries
ii. Creates lower courts
iii. Consents to appointments of judges
iv. Impeaches and tries judges
v. Can pass legislation correcting court interpretation
vi. Makes rules for court
vii. Can limit jurisdiction of lower courts
viii. Can initiate constitutional amendments
c. Checks on executive
i. Passes laws for executive to execute
ii. Funds government
iii. Overrides vetoes
iv. Confirms or rejects appointees
v. Consents to rejects treaties
vi. Impeaches and tries public officers
vii. Declares war
viii. President must give state of union report
ii. Executive Powers
1. Granted by:
a. Art. II § 1 of US Constitutionà “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America”
2. Enumerated powers (including)
a. Commander in Chief of the Military
b. Granting reprieves

Lifetime appointment with no salary reduction (except by impeachment)
iii. Chief justice presides over Senate (if President impeached)
b. Checks on executive
i. Declare treaties unconstitutional
ii. Declare executive actions unconstitutional
c. Checks on legislative
i. Interpret statutes & regulations
ii. Declare legislation unconstitutional
III. Statutes & Statutory Interpretation
a. Determining legislative intent (best indicators)
i. Words of statute
ii. News
iii. Reports of hearings
b. Statutes: The Basics
i. Purposes
1. Prohibit activity
2. Encourage or permit or mandate activity
3. Declare/define policy or other issues (like marriage, etc.)
ii. Applying statutes
1. Why do we make laws?
a. Protect public from certain conduct
b. Define things
c. Govern society to prevent guidelines from conduct & avoid chaos/anarchy
d. Maximize efficiency (increase continuity and utility w/in societal interaction)
e. Promote values & principles of society & morals/norms
f. Generate funds to support gov’t/social goals
g. Deter unacceptable conduct
iii. Anatomy of a Statute (instructive of typical organization)
Findings (value is social policy implications and reflection on