Say what? That may have been your reaction the first time you tried to decipher a legal document, state code section, or correspondence making use of legalese, the specialized language used by lawyers, judges, lawmakers, and others in the legal field.
Each week, our series Legalese From A to Z takes on some of the more important bits of legalese, one letter of the alphabet at a time. This week, we take on five legal terms that start with the letter "S":
Section 1983. Section 1983 refers to the section of title 42 of the U.S. Code that makes an individual liable for depriving another individual of constitutional rights "under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of a state." Part of the Civil Rights Act, this section is frequently used for police brutality lawsuits.
Supremacy clause. Under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the federal government, including the Constitution, are the supreme law of the land. Known as the supremacy clause, this clause requires that federal law pre-empts a state law to the contrary when the laws conflict.