53 votes

Can a soldier refuse to carry a weapon?

Under US Army Regulation 601-210 as of 2016, conscientious objection will normally disqualify someone applying to enlist, but the disqualification can be waived. Under Army Regulation 600-43, if they ...
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  • 20.6k
48 votes
Accepted

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

Are there any underlying reasons behind the nonsensical structure of U.S.C. titles? Is it simply a case of "This is how it's been for awhile, don't fix what isn't broken." or is there more to it ...
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  • 130k
48 votes

Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964, and was bigamy really punished by death?

I'm thirding the "very plausible" on the disconnect. Something to keep in mind is that the US is big. Really big. It's one of the top things people who aren't familiar with the US just don'...
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44 votes

Could the federal government ban people from drinking coffee?

None. The federal government is allowed to prohibit coffee drinking under its power to regulate interstate commerce. Prohibition would not have required a constitutional amendment under modern ...
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  • 130k
36 votes

Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964, and was bigamy really punished by death?

Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964 Yes. Indeed they still are quite disconnected by the standards of other federated nations. US states have always jealousy guarded their autonomy. ...
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  • 148k
29 votes
Accepted

Why do judges use a hammer in court?

The ceremonial hammer is called a gavel and usually looks like this: Stock image used with permission (Gavels in India and in the U.S. Senate which received its gavel as a diplomatic gift from India,...
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25 votes

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

Congress is reorganizing the U.S. Code. Positive Law Codification: Section 205(c) of House Resolution No. 988, 93d Congress, as enacted into law by Public Law 93-554 (2 U.S.C. 285b), provides the ...
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  • 3,874
25 votes

Could the federal government ban people from drinking coffee?

This would almost certainly be within Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause, which has been interpreted quite broadly to encompass virtually anything someone could imagine possibly affecting ...
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  • 9,546
24 votes

Were the ten commandments the first laws of civilization?

Nope. Even if we were to accept this definition of law as some written decree, and I'm unsure that's the case1, there are civilisations with written law that predate the Ten Commandments. Babylonian ...
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  • 11.6k
21 votes
Accepted

Can a soldier refuse to carry a weapon?

In the UK Armed Forces, conscientious objection is grounds for a refusal at the admission stage and has been since the end of conscription in 1963. Where a person develops an objection to military ...
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  • 2,401
19 votes
Accepted

What is jury nullification?

Quoting from here, Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a ...
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  • 2,841
17 votes

Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964, and was bigamy really punished by death?

Yes, the Disconnect is Plausible The US has always been quite localized in the collection and retention of vital statistics. Even today there is no central repository or database of such information; ...
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15 votes

What exactly is a "title of nobility" under the US Constitution?

Overview Generally speaking the Titles of Nobility clauses in Article I, Sections 9 and 10 of the U.S. Constitution, were aimed at barring hereditary grants of special privileges which is what it ...
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  • 130k
13 votes
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Why are magisterial judges not addressed with "your majesty?"

tl;dr: The terms have separate etymologies. Majesty derives from greatness, while magistrate comes from mastering something (people or a trade). Majesty Middle English (in the sense 'greatness of ...
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  • 5,914
12 votes

Were the ten commandments the first laws of civilization?

Not with your age estimate of the Ten Commandments (3000-3750 years ago). The Code of Hammurabi dates to around 1750 BC, which would make it over 3750 years old, which is older.
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  • 20.6k
12 votes
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Was (is?) pre-marital sex illegal anywhere in the United States?

The legal term for premarital sex, as a crime, is fornication. I found a paper that gives an extensive and well-referenced history and analysis of such laws: Sweeny, JoAnne. Undead Statutes: The ...
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12 votes
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Why do legal documents often have a place next to the date?

The validity of the execution of a contract is governed by the law of the place where it was signed. A location next to the date establishes that place and hence often, the governing law for the ...
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  • 130k
12 votes
Accepted

Is there "evidence-based" practice in law?

The primary field of research where the kind of studies you are thinking about are done is often called "empirical legal research." There is a fairly rich literature, that a substantial ...
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  • 130k
11 votes

Can a soldier refuse to carry a weapon?

By default every male Finnish Citizen is liable for military service. The relevant law for Finland has a whole Chapter 6 about unarmed service. Basically, the person who asserts that a serious reason ...
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  • 211
11 votes
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When did U.S. tax code limit the personal Capital Loss Deduction to $3000?

The Internal Revenue Code of 1954, all 1024 pages of it, was enacted in the course of a year, basically rebooting and rewriting the tax code, contains §1211 in in 68A Stat. 321: (b) OTHER ...
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  • 157k
10 votes

Were USA states really this disconnected in 1964, and was bigamy really punished by death?

france How is this possible? How can there not have been some sort of central authority keeping track of this, especially if it's not only illegal but an extremely serious crime? Were the different (...
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  • 130k
9 votes
Accepted

When did beating your child as a form of discipline become illegal in North America?

There are many countries / states / provinces in North America, each with their own laws on this subject, so this question is potentially quite broad. I will focus on the United States. To this day, ...
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9 votes

Were Nazi atrocities legal according the German law of the time?

It can (and has) been argued that some of the post-bellum trials of Germans and Japanese (but no Italians because they were Allies now) proceeded on shaky legal grounds. However, the arguments of your ...
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  • 148k
9 votes

Why do judges use a hammer in court?

To extend what @ohwilleke said, I have a little bit more information that's hopefully useful. Gavels are a feature of U.S. courts: they don't exist in courtrooms of the UK or Commonwealth countries (...
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  • 486
8 votes

In the past, how did lawyers learn the academic side of law?

In the U.S, at least for some time in our not too distant history, there were a substantial number of jurisdictions that allowed people to "read in" to a law degree, meaning exactly what @cpast said ...
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  • 10.9k
8 votes

What if a citizen does not accept all laws?

I am not sure what you mean by "accept". A citizen need not agree that any particular law is desirable, or good policy, or even rational. What a citizen must do is comply with all laws, or ...
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  • 89.7k
7 votes

Are there any jurisdictions in the world where dueling is still legal?

According to Wikipedia, duelling was legal in Uruguay from 1921 to 1971. It cites this article and I have found in the source that the law was passed in 1920, although I haven't found that it ended in ...
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  • 688
7 votes

Why was the Armenian assassin of Talat Pasha acquitted for murder?

See jury-nullification. I'm not a legal historian, so I can't say for sure what the laws on jury acquittals were at that time in that jurisdiction. However, when a jury has final discretion to ...
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  • 19.9k
7 votes

When did beating your child as a form of discipline become illegal in North America?

Australia For an alternative jurisdiction (Australia) see https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/corporal-punishment-key-issues. I quote: In most states and territories, corporal punishment by a ...
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