- About Us
- How to Visit
- Our Programs
- Program Descriptions
- Program Photos
- Past Programs
- Transportation Grants
- Student Center
- Educator Center
How many times a day does someone tell you what to do? How often do you have to stop yourself from doing what you want, because you know that this action is prohibited or wrong?
In the United States, it seems like we have laws, rules, and regulations to oversee just about everything. We don’t always like these rules, since they often mean that someone is telling us what to do, or keeping us from doing what we want. Yet to live in a civil society, we must have some rules to follow.
Who gets to make these rules? Where do they come from? What happens when we break them? These are the questions this page will seek to answer for you.
aws are rules that bind all people living in a community. Laws protect our general safety, and ensure our rights as citizens against abuses by other people, by organizations, and by the government itself. We have laws to help provide for our general safety. These exist at the local, state and national levels, and include things like:
We also have laws that protect our rights as citizens, and which include things like:
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Ours is a government of liberty, by, through and under the law. No man is above it, and no man is below it."
You wait for the walk signal at the crosswalk. As you step into the street a car speeds through the red light and nearly runs you over. A policeman nearby ignores the situation.
The police seize your personal belongings. They give you no warning and no explanation. When you tell the local judge, she orders you to keep quiet.
Murder is against the law, yet the police refuse to arrest a powerful government official who shoots and kills his neighbor in front of several eye-witnesses.
Your neighbor is accused of a crime. She has an attorney who will represent her at a trial. A jury of her peers will make the final decision. The entire trial is open to the public.
You have to go to civil court because a customer slipped in your store. The judge rules against you because the judge and the customer are cousins.
To understand the role of the federal courts in interpreting the U.S. Constitution, it’s important to understand what a law is, and where our laws come from. This page defines law, and the rule of law and provides provides historical background on the creation of the Constitution, and the three branches of government.