The American Legal System Online Test

Although both the Constitution and statutory law supersede common law, courts continue to apply unwritten common law principles to fill in the gaps where the Constitution is silent and Congress has not legislated.
True
False
The Constitution vests in Congress the power to pass legislation. A proposal considered by Congress is called a bill.
True
False
Congress’ lawmaking power is unlimited. It is delegated by the American people through the Constitution.
True
False
Where no statute or constitutional provision controls, both federal and state courts often look to the common law, a collection of judicial decisions, customs, and general principles that began centuries ago in England and continues to develop today.
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False
Courts consider themselves bound by how other courts of equal or superior rank have previously interpreted a law. This is known as the principle of “stare decisis,” or simply precedent.
True
False
Courts hear two kinds of disputes: civil and criminal.
True
False
While most criminal litigations are between private parties, the federal government or a state government is always a party to a civil action.
True
False
A convicted criminal can be imprisoned, but the losing party in a civil case is additionally liable for legal or equitable remedies.
True
False
Litigants disappointed with the lower-court decision may not appeal the case to the court of appeals of the circuit in which the federal district court is located.
True
False
The courts of appeals have the same degree of discretion as the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept a case.
True
False
Congress has set forth the jurisdiction of the federal district courts. These tribunals have original jurisdiction in federal criminal and civil cases; that is, by law, the cases must be first heard in these courts, no matter who the parties are or how significant the issues.
True
False
The “mens rea” (a Latin term) is the essential mental element of the crime. The U.S. legal system has always made a distinction between harm that was caused intentionally and harm that was caused by simple negligence or accident. Thus, if one person takes the life of another, the state does not always call it murder.
True
False
The American legal system observes several important distinctions between criminal and civil law. Criminal law is concerned with conduct that is offensive to society as a whole. Civil law pertains primarily to the duties of private citizens to the government or the state.
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False
In a civil case the court attempts to settle a particular dispute between the parties by determining their legal rights.
True
False
Contract law is primarily concerned with involuntary agreements between two or more people. Some common examples include agreements to perform a certain type of work, to buy or sell goods, and to construct or repair homes or businesses.
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False
Although many contracts are relatively simple and straightforward, some complex fields also build on contract law or contract ideas. One such field is commercial law, which focuses primarily on sales involving credit or the installment plan. Commercial law also deals with checks, promissory notes, and other negotiable financial instruments.
True
False
Tort law may generally be described as the law of civil wrongs. It concerns conduct that causes injury and fails to measure up to some standard set by society.
True
False
A distinction has traditionally been made between real property and personal property. The former normally refers to real estate — land, houses, and buildings — and has also included growing crops. Almost everything else is considered personal property, exempting such things as money, jewelry, automobiles, furniture, and bank deposits.
True
False
Mediation is a public, confidential process in which an impartial person helps the disputing parties identify and clarify issues of concern and reach their own agreement.
True
False
Private Judging is a method of alternative dispute resolution where individuals makes use of retired judges who offer their services for a fee.
True
False
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