In the United States, the law is comprised of many different levels. The most important is the United States Constitution, which outlines the foundation for all other legislation. In accordance with the constitution, there are federal laws that apply to the entire US. However, as each territory is seen as a separate sovereign with their own constitution, there are also state laws which are unique to each of the fifty US states. This complex system means that every part of the US is simultaneously overseen by two different governments: state government and federal government.
At both federal and state levels the majority of the framework for the laws comes from the English legal system. The notable exception is Louisiana whose legal system has both Spanish and French influences. However, US laws have evolved over the years and have incorporated many civil components. It is the role of the courts to formulate new laws where legislation is lacking, to make amendments to older statutes that are out of date with the current state of the country, and to invalidate unconstitutional laws. They are also responsible for enforcing and interpreting the laws of the US.
While both federal and state laws work in parallel with one another, there can be conflict, and it can be difficult to determine which laws prevail in certain situations. Moreover, the majority of United States law today consists of state law, which varies dramatically between states. Each jurisdiction has a unique set of rules, regulations, and rights that apply to its residents and visitors. There are essentially fifty times the amount of usual laws governing one country. These two factors make the American legal system somewhat complicated to navigate. Yet, access to US law is vital for any attorney working on a case and for any individual to know their rights when facing legal issues.
On this page, you will find a wealth of information on the differences between state and federal laws in the US and how the two work together to ensure justice. We also offer a list of helpful resources which cover the codes, rules, and regulations in place. This includes the US Code, Federal Register, and Code for each state. All of our legal databases are updated daily to ensure you receive accurate information in one central place.