In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. The general principle in common law legal systems is that similar cases should be decided so as to give similar and predictable outcomes, and the principle of precedent is the mechanism by which that goal is attained. Black's Law Dictionary defines "precedent" as a "rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases." Common law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law (statutes and codes enacted by legislative bodies), and regulatory law (regulations promulgated by executive branch agencies).
Stare decisis (Anglo-Latin pronunciation: /ˈstɛəri dɨˈsaɪsɨs/) is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions. The words originate from the phrasing of the principle in the Latin maxim Stare decisis et non quieta movere: "to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed." In a legal context, this is understood to mean that courts should generally abide by precedent and not disturb settled matters.
The history of the United States as covered in American schools and universities typically begins with either Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the Americas or with the prehistory of the Native peoples, with the latter approach having become increasingly common in recent decades.
Indigenous peoples lived in what is now the United States for thousands of years and developed complex cultures before European colonists began to arrive, mostly from England, after 1600. The Spanish had early settlements in Florida and the Southwest, and the French along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained two and a half million people along the Atlantic coast, east of the Appalachian Mountains. The colonies were prosperous and growing rapidly, and had developed their own autonomous political and legal systems. After driving the French out of North America in 1763, the British imposed a series of new taxes while rejecting the American argument that taxes required representation in Parliament. "No taxation without representation" became the American catch phrase. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party of 1774, led to punishment by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts. All 13 colonies united in a Congress that led to armed conflict in April 1775. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed that all men are created equal, and founded a new nation, the United States of America.
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824), was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the power to regulate interstate commerce was granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The case was argued by some of America's most admired and capable attorneys at the time. Exiled Irish patriot Thomas Addis Emmet and Thomas J. Oakley argued for Ogden, while William Wirt and Daniel Webster argued for Gibbons.
The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas of commerce as a separate power granted to Congress. It is not uncommon to see the individual components of the Commerce Clause referred to under specific terms: The Foreign Commerce Clause, the Interstate Commerce Clause, and the Indian Commerce Clause.
Dispute exists within the courts as to the range of powers granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause. As noted below, the clause is often paired with the Necessary and Proper Clause, the combination used to take a broad, expansive perspective of these powers. However, the effect of the Commerce Clause has varied significantly depending on the Supreme Court's interpretation. During the Marshall Court era, Commerce Clause interpretation empowered Congress to gain jurisdiction over numerous aspects of intrastate and interstate commerce as well as non-commerce. During the post-1937 era, the use of the Commerce Clause by Congress to authorize federal control of economic matters became effectively unlimited. Since the latter half of the Rehnquist Court era, Congressional use of the Commerce Clause has become slightly restricted again, being limited only to matters of trade (whether interstate or not) and production (whether commercial or not).
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labor. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in many jurisdictions, differences of opinion exist about the benefits and drawbacks of a minimum wage.
Supporters of the minimum wage claim it increases the standard of living of workers, reduces poverty, reduces inequality, boosts morale and forces businesses to be more efficient. Critics of the minimum wage claim it actually increases poverty, increases unemployment (particularly among low productivity workers), and is damaging to businesses.
United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89 (2000), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously held that certain state regulations regarding oil tankers and oil barges are preempted under the Supremacy Clause of the United State Constitution in deference to the extensive body of federal regulations affecting these classes of vessels.
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill severely affected the environment of Prince William Sound, Alaska, United States. In the wake of that spill, the state of Washington passed a law authorizing the state Office of Marine Safety to regulate certain aspects of tanker and oil barge operations when calling on Washington state ports. Specifically, the Office of Marine Safety adopted regulations requiring tank vessel operators to submit an oil spill prevention plan for state review and approval. The United States Department of Justice led by Attorney General, Janet Reno filed suit against Washington for adopting rules in an area of law in which the United States Coast Guard had long occupied the field of regulatory activity. The basis of the suit was that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prohibited states from enacting legislation and rules in fields where the United State Congress intended the Coast Guard to have complete authority, particularly when such regulation could affect interstate and international commerce.
Champion v. Ames, 188 U.S. 321 (1903), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that trafficking lottery tickets constituted interstate commerce that could be regulated by the U.S. Congress under the Commerce Clause.
Congress enacted the Federal Lottery Act in 1895, which prohibited the buying or selling of lottery tickets across state lines. The appellant, Charles Champion, was indicted for shipping Paraguayan lottery tickets from Texas to California. The indictment was challenged on the grounds that the power to regulate commerce does not include the power to prohibit commerce of any item.