The Nature Of Legislation
Legality refers to the legal foundation on which a specific act of legislation is founded. A principle of democracy, in which representatives are elected for a limited period of time, the concept of legality is paramount. The legislation is the product or procedure of enacting, registering, or proposing legislation by a legislative assembly, a parliament, or comparable governing body. The tradition of following laws with reference to how they will be applied and interpreted by others has often been called “the rule of law.”
Since the beginning of civilized government, there have been recurring debates between legal and non-legal authority. Often the outcome of such debates has been an expansion of governmental power. The history of “rule of law” is not clear; however, most common law jurisdictions in modern times have recognized certain principles of common law that have developed into constitutional law. Commonly, although not in common law, some of the “commonest” principles of common law have been incorporated into the legal theories of nation states as they have developed from the federal level down.
The structure of legislation is established by the procedures that govern the passage of bills through the legislative process. As noted above, there are two main procedures through which legislation is enacted: legislation must be approved by the legislative body itself (which may include a majority in the lower house and a super majority in the upper house) or the adoption of laws by a consultative body such as a unicameral legislature (which may consist of two houses). Most bills that become law are subject to override by subsequent legislative sessions. Legislation is considered to be enacted into law when it is passed by the legislative body with the concurrence of the governed. In other words, legislation is said to be enacted into being when it is passed into the public domain by the legislative body with the concurrence of the governed.
The jurisdiction over laws is derived from the jurisdictions in which the laws were applied. Each state has some leeway, within its jurisdiction, in determining the scope of its legislative authority over laws. It is within the discretion of each state to determine whether to recognize a concurrent resolution which is not a statute or a rule. Each state legislature is also sovereign over its own laws and powers. Accordingly, when two concurrent resolutions are adopted by two different bodies of the legislature in two different states, these enactments will constitute law and the relationship between them will be determined by the state courts. A state court may construe either of the conflicting enactments as valid if it is of the opinion that it is legislative intent, without prejudice to the statutory requirements.
While statutes are generally presumed to be enacted by legislative intent, this is not always the case. States may take judicial notice of the statutory language but not of the intentions behind the enactments. For example, although a state may adopt a common law rule that a contract under its civil law can only be enforced by arbitration, the legislature may choose to make arbitration a prerequisite for contracts in its civil law. Because the courts can examine both the statutory and the common law to decide the meaning of a statute, the state courts will generally construe acts of Congress in light of their long-standing decisions on the federal court’s interpretation of the Constitution and laws. Because the federal courts construe laws in a common law context, they afford persuasive justification to interpretations of state laws by state courts even when the interpretations involve conflicts with long-standing state law.
The legislative process itself can be divided into two stages: the development of bills and the passage through the legislature. The states have the power to control the process by adopting appropriate measures to ensure that the bills comply with the state constitutional requirements. One such measure is to ensure that the bills take effect immediately after being adopted by the legislature. States also have wide latitude in deciding what measures they deem appropriate to ensure the full enforcement of the constitutional law.