ROOTS OF US LAW
ROOTS OF US LAW: COMMON LAW
Posted by Atticus Finch on Jul 17, 2011 to World Net Daily forum on Presidential Eligibility
There is a reason why our legal system is referred to as Anglo-American jurisprudence instead of Roman-American jurisprudence or Franco-American jurisprudence. Since the founding of our nation, courts have acknowledged our common law heritage that is rooted in the English common law.
Justice Thomas in his concurring opinion in McDonald v. City of Chicago 561 U.S. ____ (2010) observed: ”After declaring their independence, the newly formed States replaced their colonial charters with constitutions and state bills of rights, almost all of which guaranteed the same fundamental rights that the former colonists previously had claimed by virtue of their English heritage.. . . . .. Several years later, the Founders amended the Constitution to expressly protect many of the same fundamental rights against interference by the Federal Government. Consistent with their English heritage, the founding generation generally did not consider many of the rights identified in these amendments as new entitlements, but as inalienable rights of all men, given legal effect by their codification in the Constitution’s text. “
Furthermore, courts have acknowledged that the common law was a barrier to arbitrary power of the government. ”Those who emigrated to this country from England brought with them this great privilege “as their birthright and inheritance, as a part of that admirable common law which had fenced around and interposed barriers on every side against the approaches of arbitrary power.” Thompson v. Utah, 170 US 343, 349-350 (1898) quoting 2 Story’s Const. § 1779
Moreover, “When it is said that we have in this country adopted the common law of England, it is not meant that we have adopted any mere formal rules, or any written code, or the mere verbiage in which the common law is expressed. It is aptly termed the unwritten law of England; and we have adopted it as a constantly improving science, rather than as an art; as a system of legal logic, rather than as a code of rules. In short, in adopting the common law, we have adopted its fundamental principles and modes of reasoning, and the substance of its rules as illustrated by the reasons on which they are based, rather than by the mere words in which they are expressed.’ Fung Dai Kim Ah Leong v. Lau Ah Leong, 27 F. 2d 582, 584 (9th Cir. 1928 ) (internal