LSAT Reading : Extrapolating from Law Passages

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Parallel Reasoning In Law Passages

Adapted from The Path of Law, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1897)

When we study law we are not studying a mystery but a well known profession. We are studying what we shall want in order to appear before judges, or to advise people in such a way as to keep them out of court. The reason why it is a profession, why people will pay lawyers to argue for them or to advise them, is that in societies like ours the command of the public force is intrusted to the judges in certain cases, and the whole power of the state will be put forth, if necessary, to carry out their judgments and decrees. People want to know under what circumstances and how far they will run the risk of coming against what is so much stronger than themselves, and hence it becomes a business to find out when this danger is to be feared. The object of our study, then, is prediction, the prediction of the incidence of the public force through the instrumentality of the courts.

The means of the study are a body of reports, of treatises, and of statutes, in this country and in England, extending back for six hundred years, and now increasing annually by hundreds. In these sibylline leaves are gathered the scattered prophecies of the past upon the cases in which the axe will fall. These are what properly have been called the oracles of the law. Far the most important and pretty nearly the whole meaning of every new effort of legal thought is to make these prophecies more precise, and to generalize them into a thoroughly connected system. The process is one, from a lawyer's statement of a case, eliminating as it does all the dramatic elements with which his client's story has clothed it, and retaining only the facts of legal import, up to the final analyses and abstract universals of theoretic jurisprudence. The reason why a lawyer does not mention that his client wore a white hat when he made a contract, while Mrs. Quickly would be sure to dwell upon it along with the parcel gilt goblet and the sea-coal fire, is that he foresees that the public force will act in the same way whatever his client had upon his head. It is to make the prophecies easier to be remembered and to be understood that the teachings of the decisions of the past are put into general propositions and gathered into textbooks, or that statutes are passed in a general form. The primary rights and duties with which jurisprudence busies itself again are nothing but prophecies. One of the many evil effects of the confusion between legal and moral ideas, about which I shall have something to say in a moment, is that theory is apt to get the cart before the horse, and consider the right or the duty as something existing apart from and independent of the consequences of its breach, to which certain sanctions are added afterward. But, as I shall try to show, a legal duty so called is nothing but a prediction that if a man does or omits certain things he will be made to suffer in this or that way by judgment of the court; and so of a legal right.

The number of our predictions when generalized and reduced to a system is not unmanageably large. They present themselves as a finite body of dogma which may be mastered within a reasonable time. It is a great mistake to be frightened by the ever-increasing number of reports. The reports of a given jurisdiction in the course of a generation take up pretty much the whole body of the law, and restate it from the present point of view. We could reconstruct the corpus from them if all that went before were burned.

Which of the following most closely resembles proper theoretic jurisprudence as it is described by the author?

Possible Answers:

A philosopher conducting thought experiments to test the soundness of a theory under extreme cases, documenting where the theory produced counterintuitive or paradoxical results

An anthropologist conducting interviews and listening to the oral traditions of several different cultures, then constructing a theory that describes the development of cultural values in human societies

A philosopher starting with certain assumed truths and common sense principles, then combining them and teasing out their implications to deduce what must be done to resolve ethical dilemmas

A physicist working with mathematical models to construct a theory, then testing this theory by conducting experiments

A biologist noticing trends in a set of collected data, accounting and controlling for extranious variables, and creating a general model that can be applied to other relevant instances

Correct answer:

A biologist noticing trends in a set of collected data, accounting and controlling for extranious variables, and creating a general model that can be applied to other relevant instances

Explanation:

The form of theoretic jurisprudence, according to the author, is one that very closely resembles an empirical science—that is, it draws conclusions based on trends noted from relevent data, with extranious or distracting factors accounted for or removed, used to create models that predict future results. As such, the most closely analagous case would be the one that follows this pattern, especially the necessary condition that the model be useful for predicting future cases.

Example Question #1 : Extrapolating From Law Passages

Adapted from Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone (1765-1769)

Law, in its most general and comprehensive sense, signifies a rule of action, and is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of action, whether animate or inanimate, rational or irrational. Thus we say, the laws of motion, of gravitation, of optics, or mechanics, as well as the laws of nature and of nations. And it is that rule of action, that is prescribed by some superior, and that the inferior is bound to obey.

Thus when the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. When he put that matter into motion, he established certain laws of motion, to which all moveable bodies must conform. And, to descend from the greatest operations to the smallest, when a workman forms a clock, or other piece of mechanism, he establishes at his own pleasure certain arbitrary laws for its direction; as that the hand shall describe a given space in a given time; to which law as long as the work conforms, so long it continues in perfection, and answers the end of its formation.

If we farther advance, from mere inactive matter to vegetable and animal life, we shall find them still governed by laws; more numerous indeed, but equally fixed and invariable. The whole progress of plants, from the seed to the root, and from thence to the seed again—the method of animal nutrition, digestion, secretion, and all other branches of vital economy—are not left to chance, or the will of the creature itself, but are performed in a wondrous involuntary manner, and guided by unerring rules laid down by the great creator.

This then is the general signification of law, a rule of action dictated by some superior being; and in those creatures that have neither the power to think, nor to will, such laws must be invariably obeyed, so long as the creature itself subsists, for it's existence depends on that obedience. But laws, in their more confined sense, and in which it is our present business to consider them, denote the rules, not of action in general, but of human action or conduct: that is, the precepts by which man, the noblest of all sublunary beings, a creature endowed with both reason and free will, is commanded to make use of those faculties in the general regulation of his behavior.

Which of the following examples is most closely analogous to the relationship between the two kinds of law discussed by the author in this passage?

Possible Answers:

While "book" usually refers to a bound object with pages, it can also be used to refer to a specific section of a book, analogous to chapters.

While it usually refers to institutions of higher learning, "college" can be used more broadly to refer to other kinds of societies.

"Ink" can be used in two different ways: the primary meaning (a liquid used in writing), and a figurative derived meaning (to write or sign).

While it can refer to a group of people gathered for some particular purpose, "college" usually refers to a group gathered for higher education.

"Bike" can be used to refer to either a bicycle or a motorcycle; however, the former usage is, strictly speaking, more proper than the latter.

Correct answer:

While it can refer to a group of people gathered for some particular purpose, "college" usually refers to a group gathered for higher education.

Explanation:

In this passage, the author describes laws in general before limiting the scope of his discussion to human laws (like the laws of England). The general pattern exemplified, therefore, is of a specific subset of things ("laws") that are called by the same name as the larger set of things they are a part of (i.e., human laws, usually just called "laws," are part of the broader set of things also called "laws"), with the more limited sense being the usual or relevant one. The credited response—an academic college is itself a kind of college, and is usually what is meant by "college"—is the answer that most closely follows the pattern of reasoning established by the author.

Example Question #1 : Parallel Reasoning In Law Passages

"Lynch Law" by William Floyd (2015)

“Lynch Law” as it was known can appear as a peculiar feature of the past only. Never in the present day does a mob, carrying torches, clubs, and small firearms, descend upon a county jail to take from a cell an accused criminal who is supposed to have committed a crime so heinous and unspeakable that the crowd believes the only justice is to find the nearest sturdy tree to hang the accused from. This action, so common in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in the Southern portion of the United States, died out after World War II, with only a few isolated incidents, roundly disparaged, revealing the last gasp of the Lynch Law.

Perhaps the exact mechanisms of lynching culture do not exist, features of a bygone society, more rural, prejudiced, and violent than that which replaced it. Yet the attitudes have never left the consciousness of many Americans. On the chyrons of the nightly news and splashed across front pages of newspapers, accused criminals are only treated as such out of formality. In actuality, the tone of the reports reveals that the poor soul accused of a crime is assumed to be found guilty once the proper processes of the judicial system have run their course. Through a nod to a presumption of innocence and unwavering fidelity to the slow march of the courts, any sensible citizen can congratulate themselves that they are well beyond their ancestors, whether by blood or thought, who invoked the lynch law.

In actuality, a person can be arrested on the most base of suspicions, that they have the same vague hairstyle, shirt color, or peculiar mannerism of suspect’s description given by a witness. Then this poor soul will have to be questioned by any number of detectives, who look for the slightest pause, tic, or odd gaze. And heaven help him should he forget where he was for some small sliver of time. At that point, he is all but done for in front of the criminal justice system, being as he is with some apparent similarity to the description of the suspect, no alibi, and the accusations of police and prosecutors. While he is exceedingly lucky not to have to worry about being taken out of his cell and murdered underneath a large tree, he is still shunted forward to a removal from society after his placement in a labyrinthine prison system.

An example of parallel reasoning to that used in the passage would be the argument that __________.

Possible Answers:

the criminal justice system frequently reflects the manner in which the larger society wishes to approach issues of crime

the creation of new forms of punishment frequently pushes out older forms of punishment which become unpopular

public shaming is no longer as prevalent, but violations of societal mores still cause significant discussion in society

working towards a more fair system of justice is frequently an inconsistent and uneven process

many formerly common punishments are now seen by society as cruel and unusual

Correct answer:

public shaming is no longer as prevalent, but violations of societal mores still cause significant discussion in society

Explanation:

The author argues that assumptions of guilt and desires for punishment towards those assumed to be criminals are largely the same as when lynching was prevalent, even though lynching is now almost nonexistent. Similarly, public shaming might no longer be common, but the impulses that caused public shaming still exist throughout society.

Example Question #4 : Parallel Reasoning And Analogous Cases In Law Passages

Adapted from the Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Morrison Waite in the United States Supreme Court Case Reynolds v. U.S. 98 U.S. 145 (1878)

The word "religion" is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning, and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted. The precise point of the inquiry is what is the religious freedom which has been guaranteed.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, attempts were made in some of the colonies and states to legislate not only in respect to the establishment of religion, but in respect to its doctrines and precepts as well. The people were taxed, against their will, for the support of religion, and sometimes for the support of particular sects to whose tenets they could not and did not subscribe. Punishments were prescribed for a failure to attend upon public worship, and sometimes for entertaining [98 U.S. 145, 163] heretical opinions. The controversy upon this general subject was animated in many of the states, but seemed at last to culminate in Virginia. In 1784, the House of Delegates of that State having under consideration “a bill establishing provision for teachers of the Christian religion” postponed it until the next session, and directed that the bill should be published and distributed, and that the people be requested “to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of such a bill at the next session of assembly.”

This brought out a determined opposition. Amongst others, Mr. Madison prepared a "Memorial and Remonstrance," which was widely circulated and signed, and in which he demonstrated "that religion, or the duty we owe the Creator," was not within the cognizance of civil government. [Semple's Virginia Baptists, Appendix.] At the next session the proposed bill was not only defeated, but another, "for establishing religious freedom," drafted by Mr. Jefferson, was passed. [1 Jeff. Works, 45; 2 Howison, Hist. of Va. 298.] In the preamble of this act (12 Hening's Stat. 84) religious freedom is defined; and after a recital "that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty," it is declared "that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order." In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the state.

The author's reference that "religion is not defined in the Constitution" is similar to which other Constitutional language?

Possible Answers:

The requirement that a President must be at least 35 years of age

Article Five of the Constitution allowing for the document to be amended in the future

The First Amendment's guarantee of "the freedom of speech, or of the press"

The lack of a definition for "cruel and unusual punishment" in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution

The use of the phrase "we, the people of the United States" in the Preamble to the Constitution

Correct answer:

The lack of a definition for "cruel and unusual punishment" in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution

Explanation:

The debate over what "religion" means is a necessity for the author when discussing the First Amendment, despite the lack of a clear definition in the document itself. Similarly, while the Eighth Amendment explicitly bans any "cruel and unusual punishment," it gives no guidelines as to what exactly would be termed "cruel and unusual."

Example Question #1 : Analogous Cases In Law Passages

Adapted from Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone (1765-1769)

Municipal law, thus understood, is properly defined to be "a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong." Let us endeavor to explain its several properties as they arise out of this definition.

And, first, it is a rule; not a transient sudden order from a superior to or concerning a particular person; but something permanent, uniform, and universal. Therefore, a particular act of the legislature to confiscate the goods of Titius or to attaint him of high treason does not enter into the idea of a municipal law: for the operation of this act is spent upon Titius only and has no relation to the community in general. But an act to declare that the crime of which Titius is accused shall be deemed high treason; this has permanency, uniformity, and universality, and therefore is properly a rule. It is also called a rule to distinguish it from advice or counsel, which we are at liberty to follow or not, as we see proper, and to judge upon the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the thing advised. Whereas our obedience to the law depends not upon our approbation, but upon the maker's will. Counsel is only matter of persuasion, law is matter of injunction; counsel acts only upon the willing, law upon the unwilling also.

It is also called a rule to distinguish it from a compact or agreement; for a compact is a promise proceeding from us, and law is a command directed to us. The language of a compact is, "I will, or will not, do this”; that of a law is, "Thou shalt, or shalt not, do it." It is true there is an obligation that a compact carries with it, equal in point of conscience to that of a law; but then the original of the obligation is different. In compacts, we ourselves determine and promise what shall be done, before we are obliged to do it; in laws, we are obliged to act, without ourselves determining or promising any thing at all. Upon these accounts law is defined to be "a rule."

It is likewise "a rule prescribed,” because a bare resolution, confined in the breast of the legislator, without manifesting itself by some external sign, can never be properly a law. It is requisite that this resolution be notified to the people who are to obey it. But the manner in which this notification is to be made is matter of very great indifference. It may be notified by universal tradition and long practice, which supposes a previous publication, and is the case of the common law of England. It may be notified, viva voce, by officers appointed for that purpose, as is done with regard to proclamations, and such acts of parliament as are appointed to be publicly read in churches and other assemblies. It may lastly be notified by writing, printing, or the like; which is the general course taken with all our acts of parliament.

Yet, whatever way is made use of, it is incumbent on the promulgators to do it in the most public and perspicuous manner; not like Caligula, who wrote his laws in a very small character, and hung them up upon high pillars, the more effectually to ensnare the people. There is still a more unreasonable method than this, which is called making of laws ex post facto; when after an action is committed, the legislator then for the first time declares it to have been a crime, and inflicts a punishment upon the person who has committed it. Here it is impossible that the party could foresee that an action, innocent when it was done, should be afterwards converted to guilt by a subsequent law; he had therefore no cause to abstain from it, and all punishment for not abstaining must of consequence be cruel and unjust. But when this rule is in the usual manner notified, or prescribed, it is then the subject's business to be thoroughly acquainted therewith; for if ignorance, of what he might know, were admitted as a legitimate excuse, the laws would be of no effect, but might always be eluded with impunity.

Which of the following is most analogous with the author's conception of a law as explained in the passage?

Possible Answers:

A president declares a certain day a national day of mourning following a catastrophe and orders that all government offices be closed on that day.

A local school board approves a set of teacher-hiring standards during a public meeting.

An attorney drafts a contract between two parties, both of whom agree to follow its terms.

A government agency issues a set of guidelines that clarify and explain a new regulation.

An international judicial body decides that certain actions that took place during a war violated common principles of ethics and morality, and codify procedures under which the perpetrators can be tried.

Correct answer:

A local school board approves a set of teacher-hiring standards during a public meeting.

Explanation:

The author lays out several necessary features of laws: that they be given from a superior to an inferior; that they be sufficiently promulgated; that they apply generally, rather than to particular instances and cases; and that they oblige, rather than council or advise. The credited response is the only one that does not violate one of these necessary conditions.

Example Question #2 : Extrapolating From Law Passages

Adapted from Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone (1765-1769)

Municipal law, thus understood, is properly defined to be "a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong." Let us endeavor to explain its several properties as they arise out of this definition.

And, first, it is a rule; not a transient sudden order from a superior to or concerning a particular person; but something permanent, uniform, and universal. Therefore, a particular act of the legislature to confiscate the goods of Titius or to attaint him of high treason does not enter into the idea of a municipal law: for the operation of this act is spent upon Titius only and has no relation to the community in general. But an act to declare that the crime of which Titius is accused shall be deemed high treason; this has permanency, uniformity, and universality, and therefore is properly a rule. It is also called a rule to distinguish it from advice or counsel, which we are at liberty to follow or not, as we see proper, and to judge upon the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the thing advised. Whereas our obedience to the law depends not upon our approbation, but upon the maker's will. Counsel is only matter of persuasion, law is matter of injunction; counsel acts only upon the willing, law upon the unwilling also.

It is also called a rule to distinguish it from a compact or agreement; for a compact is a promise proceeding from us, and law is a command directed to us. The language of a compact is, "I will, or will not, do this”; that of a law is, "Thou shalt, or shalt not, do it." It is true there is an obligation that a compact carries with it, equal in point of conscience to that of a law; but then the original of the obligation is different. In compacts, we ourselves determine and promise what shall be done, before we are obliged to do it; in laws, we are obliged to act, without ourselves determining or promising any thing at all. Upon these accounts law is defined to be "a rule."

It is likewise "a rule prescribed,” because a bare resolution, confined in the breast of the legislator, without manifesting itself by some external sign, can never be properly a law. It is requisite that this resolution be notified to the people who are to obey it. But the manner in which this notification is to be made is matter of very great indifference. It may be notified by universal tradition and long practice, which supposes a previous publication, and is the case of the common law of England. It may be notified, viva voce, by officers appointed for that purpose, as is done with regard to proclamations, and such acts of parliament as are appointed to be publicly read in churches and other assemblies. It may lastly be notified by writing, printing, or the like; which is the general course taken with all our acts of parliament.

Yet, whatever way is made use of, it is incumbent on the promulgators to do it in the most public and perspicuous manner; not like Caligula, who wrote his laws in a very small character, and hung them up upon high pillars, the more effectually to ensnare the people. There is still a more unreasonable method than this, which is called making of laws ex post facto; when after an action is committed, the legislator then for the first time declares it to have been a crime, and inflicts a punishment upon the person who has committed it. Here it is impossible that the party could foresee that an action, innocent when it was done, should be afterwards converted to guilt by a subsequent law; he had therefore no cause to abstain from it, and all punishment for not abstaining must of consequence be cruel and unjust. But when this rule is in the usual manner notified, or prescribed, it is then the subject's business to be thoroughly acquainted therewith; for if ignorance, of what he might know, were admitted as a legitimate excuse, the laws would be of no effect, but might always be eluded with impunity.

Which of the following is most analogous to "universal tradition and long practice, which supposes a previous publication," as is mentioned in the bolded and underlined selection in the fourth paragraph?

Possible Answers:

As proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, each 10 December is Human Rights Day throughout the world.

A certain ancient diocese celebrates its patron saint's day on 25 June every year, despite there being no record of a proclamation or edict establishing this.

While it used to be the custom at a certain college, for reasons that are lost to history, to have a torchlit procession with a dead duck around the quad, this custom is today all but extinct and known to only a few historians.

It is generally considered a breech of social protocol for a man of whatever station to wear a hat, except as a vestment, inside a church.

In England, a trail or bridleway that has been used at least once in the last year may not be obstructed by the landowner whose property it crosses, as was established in a royal decree from the Norman era.

Correct answer:

A certain ancient diocese celebrates its patron saint's day on 25 June every year, despite there being no record of a proclamation or edict establishing this.

Explanation:

The sense of the highlighted passage suggests that, while the law or principle that is now followed throughout its jurisdiction as a binding law must have been at some time promulgated in the (presumably) distant past, the original edict of promulgation, if there ever was one (e.g., assuming the law was not promulgated verbally), has been lost. Thus, the necessary conditions for the credited response are that the rule be a legal rule, binding and compelling; that it be recognized as law in its jurisdiction; and that, if there ever was a document by which it was first promulgated, that document be lost to time. The credited response is the one that most closely fits these necessary conditions.

Example Question #1 : Making Inferences In Law Passages

Adapted from The Common Law, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1881)

To present a general view of the Common Law, other tools are needed besides logic. It is something to show that the consistency of a system requires a particular result, but it is not all. The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become. We must alternately consult history and existing theories of legislation. But the most difficult labor will be to understand the combination of the two into new products at every stage. The substance of the law at any given time pretty nearly corresponds, so far as it goes, with what is then understood to be convenient; but its form and machinery, and the degree to which it is able to work out desired results, depend very much upon its past.

In Massachusetts today, while, on the one hand, there are a great many rules which are quite sufficiently accounted for by their manifest good sense, on the other, there are some which can only be understood by reference to the infancy of procedure among the German tribes, or to the social condition of Rome under the Decemvirs.

I shall use the history of our law so far as it is necessary to explain a conception or to interpret a rule, but no further. In doing so there are two errors equally to be avoided both by writer and reader. One is that of supposing, because an idea seems very familiar and natural to us, that it has always been so. Many things which we take for granted have had to be laboriously fought out or thought out in past times. The other mistake is the opposite one of asking too much of history. We start with man full grown. It may be assumed that the earliest barbarian whose practices are to be considered, had a good many of the same feelings and passions as ourselves.

Which of the following statements would the author of this passage be most likely to agree with?

Possible Answers:

"We must always stand by past decisions, and not disturb the undisturbed."

"Justice is what the judge had for breakfast."

"Rights and responsibilities flow from past decisions and so count as legal, not just when they are explicit in these decisions but also when they follow from the principles of personal and political morality the explicit decisions presuppose by way of justification."

"We must beware of the pitfall of antiquarianism, and must remember that for our purposes our only interest in the past is for the light it throws upon the present."

"Law aims to lay principle over practice to show the best route to a better future, keeping the right faith with the past."

Correct answer:

"We must beware of the pitfall of antiquarianism, and must remember that for our purposes our only interest in the past is for the light it throws upon the present."

Explanation:

The author's attitude towards past legal decisions and statutes is one in which this history has its uses for understanding the present, but there are certain limits to its use; as soon as a historical approach ceases to be useful in "explaining a conception or interpreting a rule," it is to be abandoned. Thus, while an understanding of legal history is useful to a degree, it is not to be used to the exclusion of other methods. The credited response is the one that best shows this limited approach to the use of legal history. While some other responses mention history, and, indeed, how present practice can flow from the past, they do not mention the limits that ought to be placed on deference to the past; indeed, the requirement in one response that legal reasoning "follow from the principles of personal and political morality" of past legislators contradicts Holmes's assertion that there are strict limits to the use of history.

Example Question #1 : Extrapolating From Law Passages

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) can help countries throughout the world have a more uniform way of navigating the challenging waters of international law surrounding trade. It is not uncommon for two countries to have adopted different laws on international trade that conflict with each other. This becomes a serious problem when trade disputes arise. To help make this concept more tangible, consider the following hypothetical.

Suppose China ships three million dollars' worth of electronics to Uganda using standard bulk shipping transportation methods via a commonly traveled sea route. However, the packaging isn't secured in a manner sufficient to withstand unforeseen weather conditions. As a result, the goods become damaged in transit and are no longer fit for resale. Given that two countries are involved in this transaction–China and Uganda–the question arises as to which country’s trade laws will apply to resolve the matter at hand.

In this scenario, it is fortunate that both China and Uganda are parties to the CISG, which provide for a uniform set of laws governing trade. Such laws cover which party would be responsible for the damaged goods in this scenario. As a result, there will be no dispute as to whether China’s or Uganda's trade laws apply. Given that both countries are parties to the CISG, the laws set forth by the CISG would be applicable.

However, not all countries are parties to the CISG. One example is Rwanda. Even though Rwanda is not a party to the CISG, the fact of the matter is that CISG laws can still apply to it. The CISG applies to trade between countries so long as one of those countries is a party to the CISG (unless the parties expressly specify that the CISG will not apply to their specific trade arrangement). Several of Rwanda's main trade partners, such as the United States, China, Belgium, and Uganda, are parties to the CISG, so the laws of the treaty will apply in those trade agreements. Meanwhile, there is a different story when it comes to Rwanda's trade agreements with Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Thailand, which are not parties to the CISG. Due to these countries’ lack of membership in the CISG, if a problem ever arose in a trade agreement between Rwanda and one those countries, it would be unclear as to which country’s laws would apply.

There has been heated discussion as to whether Rwanda should sign the CISG. The United Nations Development Program takes the stance that it would behoove Rwanda to join. Whether or not Rwanda decides to become a member, the CISG will still apply to a large portion of its trade agreements, as about 100 countries are in fact CISG members, with a strong portion of those members also being trade partners with Rwanda. On the flip side, some Rwandan politicians believe that valuable autonomy would be lost if Rwanda assented to the CISG. However, given the potential benefits that Rwanda stands to gain from the CISG, these fears do not merit forgoing such a valuable opportunity.

The author would most likely agree with which of these statements?

Possible Answers:

Although joining the CISG has benefits, Rwanda ultimately should not join the CISG. 

The CISG has a narrow window of applicability. 

It is imperative that Rwanda join the CISG in order to avoid impending trade disputes that could prove to be disastrous. 

It would be to Rwanda's benefit to join the CISG. 

There are positive and negative aspects that Rwanda should weigh and balance when deciding whether to join the CISG. 

Correct answer:

It would be to Rwanda's benefit to join the CISG. 

Explanation:

The correct answer is, "It would be to Rwanda's benefit to join the CISG."

A tempting wrong answer is "It is imperative that Rwanda join the CISG in order to avoid impending trade disputes that could prove to be disastrous." However, this is not correct because the author does not take such an extreme position. While the author believes it would be in Rwanda's favor to join the CISG, there is no indication that the author foresees disastrous results if Rwanda foregoes joining. 

The other answer choices state positions that are directly contrary to the author's arguments: 

"The CISG has a narrow window of applicability," is wrong because the author argues that the CISG is broadly applicable. 

"Although joining the CISG has benefits, Rwanda ultimately should not join the CISG," is wrong because the author states that Rwanda should join the CISG. 

"There are positive and negative aspects that Rwanda should weigh and balance when deciding whether to join the CISG," is wrong because the author does not argue that Rwanda should weigh and balance positives and negatives, but rather states that Rwanda should simply join.

Example Question #2 : Making Inferences In Law Passages

Adapted from Criminal Psychology: A Manual for Judges, Practitioners, and Students by Hans Gross (1911)

It is a mistake to suppose that it is enough in most cases to study that side of a person that is at the moment important—his or her dishonesty only, his or her laziness, etc. That will naturally lead to merely one-sided judgment and anyway be much harder than keeping the whole person in eye and studying him or her as an entirety. Every individual quality is merely a symptom of a whole nature and can be explained only by the whole complex; the good properties depend as much on the bad ones as the bad on the good ones. At the very least, the quality and quantity of a good or bad characteristic shows the influence of all the other good and bad characteristics. Kindliness is influenced and partly created through weakness, indetermination, too great susceptibility, a minimum acuteness, false constructiveness, untrained capacity for inference; in the same way, again, the most cruel hardness depends on properties which, taken in themselves, are good: determination, energy, purposeful action, clear conception of one's fellows, healthy egotism, etc. Every person is the result of his or her nature and nurture, i.e. of countless individual conditions, and every one of his or her expressions, again, is the result of all of these conditions. If, therefore, he or she is to be judged, he or she must be judged in the light of them all.

For this reason, all those indications that show us the person as a whole are for us the most important, but also those others are valuable which show him or her up on one side only; however, in the latter case, they are to be considered only as an index that never relieves us from the need further to study the nature of our subject.

We ask, for example, what kind of person will give us the best and most reliable information about the conduct and activity, the nature and character, of an individual? We are told: that sort of person who is usually asked for the information—his or her nearest friends and acquaintances and the authorities. Before all of these people do not show themselves as they are because the most honest will show themselves before people in whose judgment they have an interest at least as good as, if not better than they are—that is fundamental to the general egoistic essence of humanity, which seeks at least to avoid reducing its present welfare. Authorities who are asked to make a statement concerning any person can say reliably only how often the individual was punished or came otherwise in contact with the law or themselves. But concerning the individual's social characteristics the authorities have nothing to say; the detectives have to bring an answer. Then the detectives are, at most, simply people who have had the opportunity to watch and interrogate the servants, house-furnishers, porters, and corner-loafers, and other people in the employ of the individual. Why we do not question these people ourselves I cannot say; if we did, we might know these people on whom we depend for important information and might put our questions according to the answers that we need. 

It is a purely negative thing that an official declaration is nowadays not infrequently presented to us in the disgusting form of gossip. But in itself, the form of getting information about people through those who work for them is correct. People show their weaknesses most readily before those whom they hold of no account. This fact is well-known, but not sufficiently studied. It is of considerable importance. The Styrian, Peter Rosegger, one of the best students of mankind, once told a first-rate story of how the most intimate secrets of certain people became common talk although all concerned assured him that nobody had succeeded in getting knowledge of them. The news-agent was finally discovered in the person of an old, quiet woman who worked by the day in various homes and had found a place, unobserved and apparently indifferent, in the corner of the sitting-room. Nobody had told her any secrets, but things were allowed to occur before her from which she might guess and put them together. Nobody had watched this disinterested, ancient lady; she worked like a machine; her thoughts, when she noted a quarrel or anxiety or disagreement or joy, were indifferent to all concerned, and so she discovered a great deal that was kept secret from people perceived to be more important. This simple story is very significant—we are not to pay attention to gossips but to keep in mind that the information of people is in the rule more important and more reliable when the question under consideration is indifferent to them than when it is important.

Which of the following can you infer the author believes would make the best interrogators of witnesses?

Possible Answers:

Lawyers

People who are close friends of the accused

Judges

People who are held in low esteem by the accused

The authorities

Correct answer:

Judges

Explanation:

It is clear from the type of book from which this passage is taken and the manner of the passage itself that the author is either a judge or someone who is concerned with judging the truth of a matter. So, when he says ,“Why we do not question the latter ourselves I cannot say; if we did we might know these people on whom we depend for important information and might put our questions according to the answers that we need,” it is clear that he would most likely believe that judges themselves would make the best interrogators of witnesses. If you answered “People who are held in low esteem by the accused,” it is likely because you misunderstood to which aspect of the essay the question was referring.

Example Question #3 : Making Inferences In Law Passages

Adapted from Criminal Psychology: A Manual for Judges, Practitioners, and Students by Hans Gross (1911)

It is a mistake to suppose that it is enough in most cases to study that side of a person that is at the moment important—his or her dishonesty only, his or her laziness, etc. That will naturally lead to merely one-sided judgment and anyway be much harder than keeping the whole person in eye and studying him or her as an entirety. Every individual quality is merely a symptom of a whole nature and can be explained only by the whole complex; the good properties depend as much on the bad ones as the bad on the good ones. At the very least, the quality and quantity of a good or bad characteristic shows the influence of all the other good and bad characteristics. Kindliness is influenced and partly created through weakness, indetermination, too great susceptibility, a minimum acuteness, false constructiveness, untrained capacity for inference; in the same way, again, the most cruel hardness depends on properties which, taken in themselves, are good: determination, energy, purposeful action, clear conception of one's fellows, healthy egotism, etc. Every person is the result of his or her nature and nurture, i.e. of countless individual conditions, and every one of his or her expressions, again, is the result of all of these conditions. If, therefore, he or she is to be judged, he or she must be judged in the light of them all.

For this reason, all those indications that show us the person as a whole are for us the most important, but also those others are valuable which show him or her up on one side only; however, in the latter case, they are to be considered only as an index that never relieves us from the need further to study the nature of our subject.

We ask, for example, what kind of person will give us the best and most reliable information about the conduct and activity, the nature and character, of an individual? We are told: that sort of person who is usually asked for the information—his or her nearest friends and acquaintances and the authorities. Before all of these people do not show themselves as they are because the most honest will show themselves before people in whose judgment they have an interest at least as good as, if not better than they are—that is fundamental to the general egoistic essence of humanity, which seeks at least to avoid reducing its present welfare. Authorities who are asked to make a statement concerning any person can say reliably only how often the individual was punished or came otherwise in contact with the law or themselves. But concerning the individual's social characteristics the authorities have nothing to say; the detectives have to bring an answer. Then the detectives are, at most, simply people who have had the opportunity to watch and interrogate the servants, house-furnishers, porters, and corner-loafers, and other people in the employ of the individual. Why we do not question these people ourselves I cannot say; if we did, we might know these people on whom we depend for important information and might put our questions according to the answers that we need. 

It is a purely negative thing that an official declaration is nowadays not infrequently presented to us in the disgusting form of gossip. But in itself, the form of getting information about people through those who work for them is correct. People show their weaknesses most readily before those whom they hold of no account. This fact is well-known, but not sufficiently studied. It is of considerable importance. The Styrian, Peter Rosegger, one of the best students of mankind, once told a first-rate story of how the most intimate secrets of certain people became common talk although all concerned assured him that nobody had succeeded in getting knowledge of them. The news-agent was finally discovered in the person of an old, quiet woman who worked by the day in various homes and had found a place, unobserved and apparently indifferent, in the corner of the sitting-room. Nobody had told her any secrets, but things were allowed to occur before her from which she might guess and put them together. Nobody had watched this disinterested, ancient lady; she worked like a machine; her thoughts, when she noted a quarrel or anxiety or disagreement or joy, were indifferent to all concerned, and so she discovered a great deal that was kept secret from people perceived to be more important. This simple story is very significant—we are not to pay attention to gossips but to keep in mind that the information of people is in the rule more important and more reliable when the question under consideration is indifferent to them than when it is important.

The author would be most likely to view a positive attribute, like being charitable, __________.

Possible Answers:

through a consideration of the negative characteristics that are related to it

as being irrelevant unless it is directly applicable to the case at hand

as a sign of strength that can help any would-be judge ensure that his or her verdicts are fair and just

as a sign of weakness that any would-be judge cannot allow to enter into his or her thinking

through a consideration of the related positive characteristics that are associated with charity

Correct answer:

through a consideration of the negative characteristics that are related to it

Explanation:

On the judgment of individual characteristics, the author has the following to say: “Every individual quality is merely a symptom of a whole nature and can be explained only by the whole complex; the good properties depend as much on the bad ones as the bad on the good ones. . . Kindliness is influenced and partly created through weakness, indetermination, too great susceptibility, a minimum acuteness, false constructiveness, untrained capacity for inference.” So, if the author considers the positive attribute of kindliness through an understanding of the negative characteristics that are related to it, we may reasonably conclude that he would be most likely to do the same for the positive attribute of being charitable. The answer choice “as being irrelevant unless it is directly applicable to the case at hand” is specifically warned against by the author in the opening paragraph, and is incorrect.

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