American law is obeyed because of the capacity of the American judicial system to impose penalties upon those who violate the law (Hall, et al, 1996). Jewish law, in contrast, is obeyed because an individual chooses to do so out of a sense that this duty is owed to God. The key difference here is that Americans owe their obedience to the law of a state whereas Jews perceive the Halakha to be divinely inspired and their obligations therefore vested in God.
Hall, et al (1996) have pointed out that American law is dynamic and that at every stage of this nation's existence there have been very real and very significant tensions between the law and society. American law (including constitutional law) has been subject to dramatic reversals on such issues as slavery, school integration, women's rights to vote, and the rights of offenders (Hall, 1992). What these changes suggest is that despite the framework provided by the Constitution, the American legal codes and the interpretation of those codes are subject to flux.
Hall, et al (1996) have asserted that key events in America's national history often spur dramatic changes in the law. For example, rapid industrialization created a class of capitalists who were in opposition to a large class of workers whose "rights" under the law were relatively limited in comparison to the property rights of capitalists (Hall, et al, 1996). Over time, as the labor movement in this nation gained in power and influence, many of the laws which had allowed big business to exercise virtually unlimited power have been changed (Hall, et al, 1996). Lloyd (1970) claims that laws and the judicial process in constitutional democracies based on the English common law are amenable to change as new ideas, new technologies, and new interpretations of the social contract are forthcoming.
With respect to the Halakha, Brandwein (2001) argues that change is also a reality but also notes that many chang...
Jewish & American Law. (2000, January 01). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 05:06, October 31, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303411381.html