Rants, Recipes and Ramblings

The DOJ has lost focus…

The US Department of Justice certainly seems to have either lost their focus (I doubt it) or more probably (as I believe) they are simply announcing their new direction which is in simple contradiction to their actual purpose.

Consider this question.

Q: What is the difference between constitutional law, statutory law and common law?

A: There are three basic types of law in the United States:

  1. Constitutional law is the law in the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. It includes such fundamental rights as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression etc. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. No law can be enacted that contravenes the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Statutory law is law enacted by legislature.  Congress, state and municipalities all have legislative bodies that make laws.  It is created through a formal lawmaking process and codified in official text. ( Example: When the Legislature passes a bill, it is a Statutory Law.)
  3. Common law, began in England when law was derived from common practices.  Common law includes “judge-made laws” and relies on judicial precidents (case law).  Judges, thus, in their decisions are bound by precedent: the rulings of other judges in similar cases decided earlier. All the states except for Louisiana are common law states.

What has the US Justice Department done to indicate that they are no longer focused on enforcing and prosecuting the Constitutional Laws of the United States?

Now while publications are updated and changed (to include websites).  The designs and elements that are chosen “should ” reflect the philosophy of the organization.  The Justice Department recently did a makeover of their site.

Old Banner:

New Banner

It’s hard to see but the words at the top of the new banner say:

“The common law is the will of mankind, issuing from the life of the people.”

With the transition from English law, which had common law crimes, to the new legal system under the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited ex post facto laws at both the federal and state level, the question was raised whether there could be common law crimes in the United States. It was settled in the case of United States v. Hudson and Goodwin, 11 U.S. 32 (1812), which decided that federal courts (where the US Justice Department plies it’s trade) had no jurisdiction to define new common law crimes, and that there must always be a (constitutional) statute defining the offense and the penalty for it.

So… The Justice Department has no jurisdiction bringing Common Law cases so why have a quote about Common Law featured on the Public Entrance to your site?

Where did the phrase come from?

Well, it DID NOT come from someone subject to the Laws of the United States nor even someone affiliated with the Courts or the Justice System. It is atributed to C. Wilfred Jenks, a Brit and a former Director-General of the International Labour Organization from 1970 to 1973.  International Labour!?

Where there no good quotes to be found from US Judges or former heads of the DOJ?

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