Category: What does . . . mean?

What does “national law” mean in the United States? Is it the same as federal law?

In the United States, national law and federal law are the same thing.  National laws are enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. Because of  federalism, power is divided in the United States between the national government based in Washington, D.C. and state governments.  Both the state and national governments have the power to pass laws.  For example, New York State can pass a law that criminalizes certain types of conduct,  such as robbery, and the United States federal government can pass laws that would criminalize certain types of conduct, such as smuggling illegal goods into the country.  Here is a video on federalism:     Recognizing Federal and State Laws There are some ways to recognize federal and state laws. First, federal laws typically have a recognizable  popular name and a citation.  Popular name just means the name politicians give the law so people can recognize it.  For example, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But citation tells you where the law was published and that will always inform you whether the law is a federal law or not.  Federal laws are published in the United States Code, abbreviated as USC. For example, let’s say you see a  law cited as: 18 USC § 2113 This tells you that the law is a federal law because it is in...

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What is the difference between a promisor and promisee?

A promisor is someone who makes a promise to a promisee. Contract law teaches us whether the promisor is legally obligated to keep his promise. For example, if Mr. A promises to pay Mr. B $500 then A is the promisor and B is the promisee.  Contract law informs us whether Mr. A is liable if he breaks his promise. Consider the following example:  Mr. A promises to pay Mr. B $500 and Mr. B says, “Great!  Now I can get that tablet computer I always wanted.”  Is A in legal trouble if he decides not to pay?  Contract...

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What does “cause of action” mean?

Historically, “cause of action” has had more than one meaning.  Today, when lawyers in the United States refer to a “cause of action” they usually mean a legal category or legal theory on which someone bases a lawsuit.  Remember, “action” means a lawsuit.  Cause of action would mean the legal grounds for the lawsuit, such as breach of contract or tort. For example, in the illustration below the pedestrian’s “cause of action” against the driver will be the tort of negligence because the driver carelessly injured the pedestrian while he was crossing the street. In some cases a party might assert multiple causes of action for one injury.  For example, a plaintiff might argue that he has a cause of action for breach of contract  because the defendant broke a promise.  In the alternative, the plaintiff might also claim to have a cause of action for fraud because the defendant lied when he made his promise....

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