This chapter identified the lawmaking bodies of American public law. Later on you will learn how they work and where and how you can find the product of their rule making and decisionmaking authority. By now you know that the U.S. legal system has the same social, economic, political, and moral constraints as any other legal system, and that the function of the American legal system is to promote legitimate order according to the core cultural values of individual liberalism. While the core cultural values remain the same, society and the way it understands them change. Thus, the American legal system is dynamic within well-established limits: those imposed by the rule of law. Understanding these idiosyncrasies will help you adjust quicker to the demands imposed on you by the study of law in its dual, concrete and abstract, aspect.

Next let’s take a more in-depth look at each type of public norm-legislation, case law, and administrative law. You know that they are all open to judicial and congressional scrutiny. You also know that they survive it only if they are the result of legitimate exercise of public authority and their content does not violate the requirements imposed by the rule of law. Next, you will learn how they differ, and how that affects your studies and legal research. You will see how judicial and congressional scrutiny happens differently for each type of norm, and that will affect the way in which you will strategize your studies and research.