Scholars continue to debate the relative merits of the four theories of lawmaking just outlined. None of these theories can account by itself for the creation of all laws. Assessment of these merits depends on one’s theoretical perspective. Conflict theorists would certainly argue that “the paradigm that is most compatible with the facts is one that recognizes the critical role played by social conflict in the generation of . . . law” (Chambliss, 1976:67). Others, in a similar vein, would argue for the explanatory power of their respective theoretical stances. Because the legislative, administrative, and judicial bodies make a large number of laws each day, it is always possible to select a few examples that illustrate almost any conceivable theoretical position. At best, the theories we have discussed explain in part how laws are made. Probably all these theories are at least partially correct, but it is doubtful that any single theory fully explains the creation of law, although one or another may account for the formation of any particular law or kind of law.

With these considerations in mind, let us now turn to an examination of the processes of legislative, administrative, and judicial lawmaking.

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