For Blackstone, "law is a rule of civil conduct [ ... ] commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong." (Commentaries, Introduction, 1753) A century later, O.W. Holmes, Jr. wrote in the "The Path of the Law," 10 //Harvard Law Review// 457, 457 (1897), that when "we study law we are not studying a mystery [ ... ] The means of the
study are a body of reports; of treatises, and of statutes [ ... ]." In this vein, this wiki introduces you to the study of law, in its ever changing external manifestation.

In other words, this wiki will explain the connection between various facets of what constitutes domestic law and how you can find the piece that interests you. The goal of this wiki is to quietly change your attitude against law, so you can excel as a legal researcher. For example, when Congress passes a statute following the usual congressional procedure, and it thus exercises publicly justifiable power, we accept the rule contained in that statute as being law, or, in the words of the renowned legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart, we recognize it as valid, as legitimate, and we obey it. Few inquire into the merits of a piece of legislation and even fewer challenge it, even though its merits may be arguable, as long as it does not violate any constraints imposed by the “rule of law.”

Nevertheless, a thorough researcher will update his statutory results with a search for all relevant court decisions and subsequent statutory amendments.

The next examples show the cultural and social role statutes play in the American society, and how their lifespan depends on their perceived value within the American democracy.

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Introduction

American Law Has Both an Abstract and a Concrete Facet; Only the Latter Constitutes the Object of Legal Research

Legal Norms Are Dynamic -- The Impact of Judicial and Congressional Scrutiny


  1. Judicial and Congressional Review of Statutory Rules

  2. Judicial and Congressional Review of Court Decisions

  3. Judicial Review of Administrative Decisions