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SUMMARY

  • 1. Theoretical perspectives on lawmaking include the rationalistic model, the functional view, conflict theory, and the "moral entrepreneur" thesis. None of these theories can account for the creation of all laws, but they at partly explain how laws are made.
  • 2. The three general types of lawmaking processes include legislative, administrative, and judicial processes. Legislative lawmaking basically consists of finding compromises to ideas advanced for legislation by the executive, administrative agencies, interest groups, and various party agencies and spokespersons. Administrative lawmaking consists of rulemaking and adjudication. Judicial lawmaking is an accelerating trend in the United States and occurs by precedent, by interpretation of statutes, and by Constitutional interpretation.
  • 3. Interest groups, public opinion, and social science all exert an influence on the lawmaking process. Interest groups influence judicial lawmaking by initiating test cases, by providing additional information to the courts through amicus curiae briefs, and by communicating indirectly with judges by placing information in legal and general periodicals. Interactions between interest groups and legislative and administrative lawmakers are more overtly political in nature. Social scientists have also contributed to lawmaking either directly in the form of expert testimony or indirectly through the use of research findings.
 
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