With Today’s post, I’m starting a new category called “Lessons Learned.” You’ll be
able to access these types of postings via the “Categories” links in the right hand column.
The Law is Not Uniform
- What a law says, is not what a law means
- Laws are interpreted based on decisions made on similar cases at the “Court of Appeals” or “Supreme Court” level.
- Each state has one or more Court of Appeals. They decide what a states’ laws mean. These decisions are binding on all state and federal courts in their jurisdiction.
- Each state belongs to one of 13 federal districts, each having its own Court of Appeals. They decide what federal law means, subject to federal and state law. Their decisions are binding on all federal and state courts in their jurisdiction.
- The vast majority of lawsuits are filed in state court:
– State Court: 30,000,0000 cases filed
– Federal Court: 1,000,000 cases filed
(From the Federal Judicial Center)
- A federal law can have as many as 13 different interpretations that are binding on lower courts at the same time.
- A state law can have multiple interpretations that are binding on lower courts at the same time.
- All legal progress is made on appeal.
To learn more about binding decisions, “Stare Decisis,” and how they apply, please see Legal Precendent.
As always, comments welcome …