180 CHAPTER 7 Carved in marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, is the motto Equal Justice under Law What does this motto mean to you It means that you and all other citizens are considered equal and are protected by the rule of law. Laws define individual rights and freedoms. But where does your freedom end and another person’s freedom begin The judicial branch of the government—the court system—helps find the answer. Equal Justice under the Law BEFORE YOU READ The Main Idea The rights of all US. citizens are protected bylaws and the courts. Reading Focus 1. In what ways is the United States a nation of laws? 2. What are the four sources of law in the United States? 3. What roles do the courts play in the United States? Key Terms crime, p. 181 criminal law, p. 181 civil law, p. 181 common law, p. 182 precedent, p. 183 constitutional law, p. 183 appeal, p. 183 As you read, take notes on equal justice under the law. Use a chart like this one to record your notes.