Statutory Law

views updated May 11 2018


STATUTORY LAW, as distinguished from constitutional law and the common law, is that body of law laid down by a legislature. Both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures enact statutes either by bill or by joint resolution. Federal statutes take precedence over state statutes, and state statutes are superior to the common law. Statutory law is inferior to constitutional law, and courts exercise the power of judicial review when they declare statutes unconstitutional. Statutory law is codified under titles describing the areas of action to which they appertain, and these titles are grouped together in codes. The administrative branch of government enforces statutory law often through the promulgation of administrative rules and regulations that have the effect of law as long as they lie within the limits set by the statutes.


Burton, Steven J. An Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning. 2d ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

Hart, H. A. L. The Concept of Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.

Rantoul, Robert, Jr. "Oration at Scituate. Delivered on the Fourth of July, 1836." In Perry Miller, ed., The Legal Mind in America: From Independence to the Civil War. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962.

Walker, Harvey. Law Making in the United States. New York: Ronald Press, 1934.

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See alsoCode, U.S. ; Executive Orders ; Initiative .


views updated May 18 2018

statutes. See Parliament, Acts of.