This book provides an introduction to the American legal system for a broad readership. Its focus is on law in practice, on the role of the law in American society, and how the social context affects the living law of the United States. It covers the institutions of law creation and application, law in American government, American legal culture and the legal profession, American criminal and civil justice, and civil rights. Clearly written, the book has been widely used in both undergraduate and graduate courses as an introduction to the legal system; it will be useful, too, to a general audience interested in understanding how this vital social system works. _ This new edition, which keeps the same basic structure of earlier editions, has been revised and brought up to date, reflecting the way the legal system has adapted to the complex new world of the twenty-first century.
1. What Is a Legal System?
2. Law: Formal and Informal
3. The Background of American Law
4. The Structure of American Law: The Courts
5. The Structure of American Law: Statutes and Statute Makers
6. The Structure of American Law: Executing Policy
7. Federalism and American Legal Culture
8. Inside the Black Box: The Substance of Law
9. Crimes and Punishments
10. Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties
11. On Legal Behavior
12. Legal Culture: Legitimacy and Morality
13. The American Legal Profession
14. Law and Social Change
15. Epilogue: The Future of Law in the United States