Firmly anchored in social science concepts, the second edition of The American Legal System demonstrates the relationships among private law, the business legal environment, and public law issues, as well as related subjects of interest. This fifteen-chapter book is divided into three parts. Part I places the legal system in a political perspective centering on the origins of the law, schools of jurisprudence, branches and functions of law, legitimacy of law, how the judiciary functions in the federal system of government, and judicial interpretation and decision making. Part II contrasts legal processes: civil suits for money damages, criminal processes, equity justice, administrative processes, and alternative dispute resolution. Part III centers on the legal norms or rules governing both civil and criminal conduct, property law, family law, contract law, and government regulation of business.Throughout, the text features edited court opinions—many new to this edition—illustrating lively and thought-provoking controversies that are certain to spark student interest. Among the many compelling issues addressed are the legal and constitutional controversies surrounding the Bush Administration's "War on Terror," and the socially explosive developments concerning same-sex marriage. In addition, each chapter includes at least three comparative notes showing how other legal cultures in different nation-states treat legal matters. A wealth of pedagogical features—chapter-opening objectives; key terms, names, and concepts; a glossary, discussion questions, and appendices—are included to aid student comprehension. The authors have prepared an Instructor's Manual and Test Bank to facilitate the book's use in the classroom.