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A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority. The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system: international law. The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system: a breakdown of law and civilized behavior. A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system: tax law; criminal law. A piece of enacted legislation. What is Law?

Legislature

A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt
laws. Legislatures are known by many names including parliament, senate, or
congress. In parliamentary systems of government, the legislature is
formally supreme and appoints the executive. In presidential systems of
government, the legislature is considered a branch of government which is
equal to the executive.

The power of legislatures vary widely from country to country. A rubber
stamp legislature is a derogative name used for a legislature that has no
real power and simply approves bills which are put before it.

Legislatures can be roughly divided into two groups: unicameral legislatures
and bicameral legislatures. The latter are composed of two separate
divisions or houses (bi two, camera chamber) with different duties, powers,
and methods for selection of members. Examples of bicameral legislatures
include the British Parliament (divided into the House of Lords and the
House of Commons) and the United States Congress (divided into the Senate
and the House of Representatives). Generally both houses must agree on
important legislation for it to be enacted.

That branch of government whose function is to enact laws. Under the United
States Constitution, this power is given to Congress. The powers of Congress
are limited to those contained in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Among these powers are the power to tax, the power to regulate interstate
and foreign commerce, and the power to declare war, among others.

The legislative branch of government in the United States is limited by the
separation of powers among the other branches of government. For example,
the Executive branch headed by the President of the United States has the
power veto legislation. The Judicial branch also maintains a check on the
power of the legislature called judicial review, in which legislation is
examined to ensure its compatibility with the Constitution. Legislation
found to be incompatible is struck down.

Compare this system of checks and balances with the system in the United
Kingdom. There, the executive is the British monarch, who is essentially a
figurehead whose power is restricted by convention and public opinion. The
Prime Minister, generally regarded as being the real authority in the UK, is
himself or herself a member of Parliament, which is the legislature.
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