How a Law Becomes a Law

The Laws of United states of America are made with the authorities drawn from the constitution. Laws are made by the people or the representatives of the people who are either the members of the congress or the house of representative. Essentially, the legislatures are authorized to form laws by the Article I of the Constitution. For a law to become a law, distinctive steps are followed as stated in this paper.

How Laws Are Made

A bill may be introduced by any member of the legislature. Either a member of the House of Representatives or of the Senate can introduce a bill. A bill is not yet a law but will be one if it is agreed by both bodies of the legislative branch. If it is introduced by a member of the House of Representatives, this person is then called the sponsor of the bill. An unlimited number of legislators can also cosponsor the said bill. On the other hand, a member of the Senate can introduce a bill through presenting it to one of the clerks of the Presiding Officer’s desk or through a more formal procedure that suppose that it will be introduced on the floor. The Senate permits multiple sponsoring of the bill.

After that, if no objection is made to the introduction of the bill, it will then be referred to the proper committee for study. In the whole legislative process, this stage is said to be the most important part. The committee has to make an intensive consideration about the proposed measures of the bill. This phase has been commonly overlooked by the public; however, it requires a terrific amount of work for the members of the committee.

After the long process of deliberation, if the bill is then voted by the committee to be reported on the floor, its report is to be written, including the scope of the bill and the reasons for its approval. The draft is then put on a calendar to be debated, voted or amended. The opponents and proponents of the bill will then engage in a debate in the House of Representatives. A time for both sides to speak is set equally, however, in the Senate, they have unlimited interval to debate unless closure is invoked. Same is to be applied when amendments to the bill are raised and then to be voted afterwards. After the debate has concluded and the changes decided, it is now time to vote on the bill for passage. If the draft passes by simple majority, then it is sent to the other chamber. The other one will undergo the same process of assigning to a committee, debating, and voting on it. Any difference on the versions of the bill from both chambers will be worked out by the conference committee set up by both the House of Representatives and the Senate made up of usually senior members appointed by the presiding officers of the committee that previously dealt with the bill.

After the differences of both houses’ versions of the bill have been resolved, the final version is issued through a report by the committee. It is then considered as an “enrolled” bill. It is sent to the President for his signature to pass it into law or to veto the draft. If it is vetoed by the President, it is returned to the legislative branch and they can attempt to override the veto through a two-thirds vote to pass it into a law. However, if the President did not even sign or veto the bill within 10 days while Congress is in session, it becomes a law.

The Sources of Legislation

The legislative branch, collectively known as the Congress, is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The senate is composed 100 members. Each state has two senators who are elected with a term of office of six-year. Every two years, one-third of the Senate is for re-election. While the House of Representatives is made up of 435 members with a term of office for two years and then are up for reelection. They are responsible mainly to enact laws for the general welfare of the country in all aspects. This process is deliberate and intensive. In order for one to draft a future law requires great skills. The ideas of legislation by the members of the Congress are unlimited and countless which comes from different and diverse sources.

It may come from a campaign during election where a member premised to bring into legislation a certain issue. Or, it may also emanate from being aware after taking office about existing laws that he/she wanted to repeal or amend. Another, is in the First Amendment of the Constitution that citizen groups are guaranteed to avail themselves the right to petition since this groups have the knowledge about the laws that affect their interests. Most of the excellent laws are created this way. In the modern times, legislation comes from “executive communication.” This means a member of the President’s Cabinet, the head of an independent agency, or the President himself, sent a draft of a proposed bill to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. This is usually in the form of a message or letter.

Value of Dicta in Judicial Decisions

Legislature members are not legal experts hence they cannot write customized laws for every situation. The laws they write end up being broadly stated hence applicable in diversified situations. Therefore, the judiciary is tasked with interpreting the laws and providing the intentions of the legislature. To interpret the legal meaning of the laws, the judiciary considers various factors which include, the actual language used, legislative history, binding precedent, legal treaties and the common law associated with the statute.

Notably the interpretations provided by the judges are useful when a judge refers to a precedent. Hence the judge refers to the facts (Ratio decidendi) issued by the judge while deciding the case as well as the dictum which is known as “by the way statements.”  However, the obiter dicta do not form a binding decision of the case. For instance in the case of R v  HYPERLINK “http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1986/4.html” \o “” Howe & Bannister[1987] 2 WLR 568 the court decided that the defendant did not commit murder (e-lawresources, 2016). However the obiter dicta added by the judge enquired whether an accused person should be offered defence for attempted murder.

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