Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 2: Lawmaking

Cases and Resources

Drafting a Bill
International Lawmaking

The Senate and the House of Representatives
The federal legislature, the branch of the federal government that makes and passes laws, is divided into two groups. Read about the Senate and the House of Representatives and find out what issues are currently being debated.

State Legislatures
Use this database to find out about the legislature in your state and find out who represents you and what legislation they are working on right now.

THOMAS—U.S. Congress on the Internet
This Web site, named for Thomas Jefferson, allows you to search and read about congressional bills and other legislative information.

This site is maintained by C-SPAN, the cable television channel that focuses on governmental meetings and events. You can read about elected officials, legislation and debates over issues, or search other media resources.

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Drafting a Bill
Writing a Bill
Do you have a great idea for a new law? Read this description of how a bill becomes a law and then go through the steps of writing a bill of your own to get a better understanding of what is involved in this legislative process.

Amending the Constitution
The U.S. Constitution has been amended only 27 times in our nation's history, though a much larger number of amendments have been proposed. Find out about the process of amending the Constitution at this site, and read some of the proposed amendments that were not successfully added.

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Federal and State Agencies
There are numerous agencies within the federal and the state governments that are formed to concentrate on specific areas of legislation. Read about the different types of agencies that exist. Visit the agencies mentioned in this section of the text.

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Federal Courts
Read about the judicial branch of the federal government. What types of cases do federal courts decide?

Federal Judicial Center
Take a closer look at the history of the federal court system and read about some of the most significant cases that have been decided.

State Courts
How are state courts distinct from federal courts? Use this site to link to state court information in your state.

United States Supreme Court
This Web site of the U.S. Supreme Court contains information on current and past dockets, current and historic decisions, the courthouse, and the biographies of the justices.

Supreme Court Historical Society
The Supreme Court Historical Society is focused on documenting and preserving the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. This site features information on the evolution of women's rights as well as a documentary on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the 1937 court-packing controversy.

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International Lawmaking
European Union
The Web site of the European Union (EU) is a comprehensive place to learn about the EU, the types of activities and laws with which the EU is concerned, and general information about Europe. The EU is using international law to unite many European countries. Read about what types of laws the EU finds important to create this unity.

United Nations Law Center
The United Nations maintains a site dedicated to the discussion of international law. Read about specific tribunals, treaties, and commissions.

Non-U.S. National Law Material
Learn more about the national laws of a foreign country and compare them to the laws of the United States. How are they similar? What differences do you see?

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