American legal system. In the years since the publication of the fourth edition, there have been many important developments on the legal front. The Supreme Court has issued important decisions on presidential powers, freedom of religion, and personal liberty. Police shootings and the rise of Black Lives Matter has impacted the court system too. The rise of arbitration at the expense of jury trials has affected the rights of consumers, and internet law remains in a state of constant change.
This fully updated fifth edition of Law 101 accounts for all these developments and more, as Feinman once again provides a clear introduction to American law. The book covers all the main subjects taught in the first year of law school, and discusses every facet of the American legal tradition, including constitutional law, the litigation process, and criminal, property, and contracts law.
To illustrate how the legal system works, Feinman draws from noteworthy, infamous, and even outrageous examples and cases. We learn about the case involving scalding coffee that cost McDonald’s half a million dollars, the murder trial in Victorian London that gave us the legal definition of insanity, and the epochal decision of Marbury vs. Madison that gave the Supreme Court the power to declare state and federal law unconstitutional. A key to learning about the law is understanding legal vocabulary, and Feinman helps by clarifying terms like “due process” and “equal protection,” as well as by drawing distinctions between terms like “murder” and “manslaughter.”
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