positive law


: law established or recognized by governmental authority compare natural law

Examples of positive law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It is widely acknowledged by scholars that the Constitution, as originally understood, did not empower federal judges to set aside positive law in light of the natural law. Christian Schneider, National Review, 22 June 2023 But Vermeule would go further by, for example, interpreting the scope of Congress’s power under the commerce clause based on the natural-law principle of subsidiarity, regardless of whether subsidiarity was originally understood to have been incorporated into any source of positive law. J. Joel Alicea, National Review, 3 May 2022 These ideas assume intrinsic rational capacities of humans to properly perceive and pursue uniquely human goods and to deduce from these goods a system of moral precepts and ethics that become the framework for elucidating and codifying positive law. Peter Hammond Schwartz, The New Republic, 3 Feb. 2021 Designing a coherent, resilient, and positive law firm culture, as that author describes, can be done. Paula Davis, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 In his time, human positive law was understood as that which depended solely on the will of legislators. Alejandro Chafuen, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 American success requires nurturing personal responsibility and civic virtue; fidelity to nonstate action, positive law, and close-to-home governing; and respect for an array of cultures and traditions. Andy Smarick, National Review, 24 Sep. 2021 This includes everything from customs and norms to family structure and voluntary associations to democratic deliberation and positive law. Andy Smarick, National Review, 17 Sep. 2020 This is obviously a process from which the coercive sanction of positive law and coercive violence is excluded. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 4 Sep. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'positive law.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of positive law was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near positive law

Cite this Entry

“Positive law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/positive%20law. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition

positive law

pos·​i·​tive law
: law established or recognized by governmental authority compare natural law

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