Essay about Law and Social Change

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In a world where law and social change are always interconnected, creating templates of rules and orders based on the evolution and growth of society, it’s held up to question which came first. Law and social change can be viewed as a cause and effect relationship. This occurs from the aftermath and influences major public backlash, which necessitates modifications and adjustments in the dynamic behavior within the legal system. Social change requires a mindset shift in a collective party. It requires the norms and values of a culture to gradually progress in line with the evolution of society for change to happen.

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Concurrently, laws change over time as society’s values evolve.

Thus, new laws are enacted when societal values change, laws are altered as people’s values develop. Laws can create social change, just as social change can create law. Calavita argues that there’s a tension between the law’s potential for both promoting and hindering social change. One example she uses is Brown v Board of Education, where she indicates that law before the 1960s segregated white and black students, forcing them to attend different schools despite living in the same district. This law divided the community, creating a significant public uproar, demanding a policy change that would result in equal opportunity and equal education amongst all races.

The situation incited public anger, pushing them to look for justice in the legal court system, which eventually overturned the ruling and allowed black students to gain the same educational rights as white students. However, despite social change, there are boundaries that can limit the extent to which it can make a difference within the law itself. Even after the court overturned segregated schools post-Brown v Board, segregated schools still existed in many parts of the United States, mostly due to economic disparities in neighborhoods. Therefore, despite all the effort in social change and adjusting the law, the end results seemed like a failure through the eyes of some, such as Derrick Bell, highlighting the limits of the law. The article quotes, “Courts can matter, but only sometimes” which I interpret as meaning that the laws created by Congress or the Judicial leaders are dependent on public opinion. It suggests that since the court lacks enforcement powers, the need for change largely depends on the public’s will.

The consequences and logical outcomes of law and social change affect many aspects of society. This leads me to my next argument: how did law and social change play a role in creating the Affordable Health Act in 2010? The initiators of this act began with the humble goal of helping the numerous uninsured Americans. However, as complaints from insured middle-class families about skyrocketing premiums and disease-related cancellations flooded Congress, changes had to be made. The Affordable Health Act, or ACA, was introduced by Obama to ensure that everyone had access to health care. The year ACA went live saw a record high 18% or approximately 55 million Americans lacking health insurance. Many of these individuals had shorter life expectancies and poorer quality of life because they would postpone their care or were unable to get proper medical treatment.

When they do become ill, the main place they can turn to is the ER, which is typically a costly and inadequate environment to receive proper care for many non-emergent and chronic illness patients. Obama realized this early in his election term and desired to make it one of the first laws he addressed to Congress. Passing this new law wasn’t an easy task for Obama, as he faced resistance and backlash from many congressmen, court officials, and mostly, Republican governors and state councils. A host of journalists, observers, and government officials contend that the president made a significant mistake in taking up healthcare at the start of his term, before building relationships of trust with Republicans, and then exacerbated that error by pushing the law through quickly with no Republican input or efforts to find common ground.

With the passing of the ACA, many more Americans became insured and were no longer being denied of health services, yet many others were still unhappy about it. If you’re uninsured and don’t obtain an exemption, you must pay a modest fine, expected to increase over time. Some people believe it’s intrusive for the government to require health insurance. Also, businesses with at least 50 full-time employees must offer health insurance or make payments to cover healthcare costs for their employees. By reducing hours, companies can comply using the 30-hour-a-week definition of a full-time worker, thus cutting their costs. The legislation can be amended and spending choices can influence its implementation. Changes in the healthcare field, along with changes in the political makeup of future presidential administrations and Congress make it likely that the ACA will be amended for several years to come. As Calvera explained, passing laws through the court system doesn’t always fix problems, sometimes they create new ones. Public displeasure communicated verbally and visually can push many officials to spark a debate and reevaluate changes in the system.

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Essay About Law and Social Change. (2019, Sep 21). Retrieved from