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Zer Netmouse
July 21st, 2012
11:01 am


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Why does Congress make laws that expire?

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:July 23rd, 2012 05:39 am (UTC)
But doesn't legal precedent, as upheld by the courts, stand until overturned?

Generally, but if the law has changed, a court may decide that a precedent no longer applies, and ignore it. On appeal, higher courts will decide if the lower court was right to do so. The legal system has always had to deal with the laws changing underneath it; it's not an unusual thing.

It seems to me the legal system is slanted toward being slow-moving and building consistencies people can rely on, yet these expiration dates create sudden changes.

I don't think that's a problem, though; the expiration dates aren't a secret, and companies and people can plan for them, as can judges and bureaucrats.
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Date:July 23rd, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
Yeah? Is there a place where the public can easily go to find out what laws are expiring this year? Or next year?
Date:July 23rd, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
Easily? Probably not, but that's a general reflection of the way our laws are insufficiently indexed, and not specific to their having expiration dates. The laws themselves are public, so such an index could be created. There probably is one already somewhere, because reporters and analysts regularly field stories and reports about upcoming expirations. And if laws had a standard built-in expiration, it would be easy; just list all the laws that passed 20 years ago (or whatever the period was), with less than the permanence threshold.

Hmmm...it appears I'm not the first one to suggest this.
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