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The Handy Law Answer Book

June 22, 2010

The Handy Law Reference Book by David L. Hudson Jr.
published by Visible Ink Press April 1, 2010

Understanding even the basics of our legal system can be overwhelming, which may be why our society employs hordes of lawyers and politicians to interpret it for us. 🙂 The Handy Law Answer Book is a great reference. It breaks this broad subject into logical categories and answers over 1200 questions in a clear, concise fashion. It is a handy source to turn to when questions arise; it’s also a terrific resource for parents, particularly homeschoolers, since these chunks of information may spark an interest in further study.

Topics Covered:

1. Constitutional Law — When I was taking a high school U.S. Government course, I would have loved this clear, concise overview of the development of our constitution. It describes how it was created and ratified, including the perspective of the Anti-Federalists, who opposed this move. It discusses the provisions of the constitution, including the organization of the federal government, and it explores key constitutional concepts like separation of power.

2. The Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment — This chapter discusses the bill of rights and explores how its provisions relate to issues we see in the headlines. For example, does the first amendment forbid prayer in public schools? What are the limits of free speech? What is obscenity? This section is strewn with court cases that helped define how the Bill of Rights is applied. These cases, like everything else in the book, are clear but short and to the point. It also discusses the 14th amendment, which deals with due process; it is sometimes called “the second bill of rights.”

3. The Court System — This section explains our court system in a nutshell, with examples from case law.

4. Lawyers and Lawsuits — How does one become a lawyer? What kinds of jobs do attorneys do? What should you do if you need a lawyer? If you ever have to go to court, what should you expect? This section addresses these questions.

5. Criminal Procedures — This is a concise, well crafted summary of criminal law, including due process required of police officers when making arrests. It explores the rights of the accused and what to expect during a trial. Again, there are snippets of case law, including a statute on how to deal with drunk jurors. The courts have to be prepared to deal with anything. 🙂

6. Credit and Bankruptcy Law — This has been a hot topic during the current recession. This chapter discusses how to build good credit, understanding fair lending practices, and bankruptcy.

7. Employment Law — This chapter explores the complex issue of discrimination by employers, including discrimination on the basis of age, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. It also looks at workers compensation and other issues; for example: can your employer require you to take a drug test?

8. Family Law — This section explores laws pertaining to marriage, prenuptial agreements, divorce, child custody, child support, paternity and adoption.

9. Personal Injury Law — Where does the word “tort” come from? What kinds of torts are handled in our court system? What was the famous “plate-snatching case?” Does tort law protect you from being photographed in the bathroom? 🙂 This section explores various kinds of liability and how they’re handled by the legal system.

I am enjoying perusing this book, which is beautifully organized and rich with information, and I think it will be a valuable resource in our homeschool.

Many thanks to Lisa Roe at Online Publicist for giving me the opportunity to review this book — there is more information, along with more reviews, here.

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