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US Federalism

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Joseph Davis

on 30 July 2013

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Transcript of US Federalism

Federalism in the
Federal Government
Three Branches of US Federal Government

Vice President

All major agencies and departments of the US government
The Executive
US House of Representatives

US Senate

Congressional Support Agencies
The Legislative
The Supreme Court

US Appellate Courts

US Tax Court, US International Trade court, US Claims Court

FISA Court
The Judicial
State Government
In the United States there are 50 state governments and 6 territorial or district governments.
Each of these governments has power in its own jurisdiction.
The Branches of State Government
State Executive
The Governor's Office

Lieutenant Governor

Elected Heads of gubernatorial departments and state agencies
The State Legislature
Upper House

Lower House
The State Judiciary
State Supreme Court

State Appellate Courts

County Courts
State courts rule on state law and are the sole jurisdiction on state civil laws and all criminal matters. They can only be over ruled by federal courts in Constitutional matters.
Government power in the United States is separated into multiple levels. Each government has its own jurisdiction where they make laws and enforce them
The executive branch is delegated the power to enforce law. On the federal level in the US, the executive branch carries out laws passed by the US Congress. Constitutionally, the President is the Commander-and-Chief of the US armed forces and the Chief Diplomat, directing US foreign policy.
Congress's role in the federal system is to create law and provide oversight to other federal bodies. Congress also has the "power of the purse" meaning they are the sole body responsible for the budget of the federal government.
The Judicial branch hears federal laws and appellate cases. These courts' original jurisdiction is only found on federal law. All other cases involving state law must have US Constitutional questions at steak to be brought before a federal court.
Federal Law
Where can federal government make law
How is the separation of State and Federal government enshrined
Nullification--Can it happen?
Governors and the other elected officials of state agencies carry out law. These offices also direct state policy where laws may not be clear. Education, property law, economic development, and licenses are areas where state's power exceeds that of the federal government.
State legislatures make law in the policy areas where state's power is delegated. State power can include international outreach for economic development, education, property, marriage, criminal code, structure of state government, licensing, infrastructure development, state commerce, etc.
The federal government can make law in tax, treaties, the entrance of states to the Union, inter-state commerce, defense, foreign policy, roads, post, currency, patent/copy right, piracy, law of the high seas, war, rules of federal governance, immigration, census, etc.
The federal government is also prohibited from suspending Habeas Corpus, levy export tax, no taxes on inter-state commerce, nor can they create noble titles.
Additionally, states are prohibited from coining money, granting titles of nobility, levy import/export tax, entering treaties, nor to keep a standing army or make war without the approval of the US Congress.
States are required to provide for Republican government, cited Art. IV, Sec. 4 US Constitution.
Supremacy Clause (Art. VI, Sec. 2 US Constitution) states that all laws and treaties of the federal government "shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." If a state makes a law that contradicts a federal law, then the federal takes precedent (Ware v. Hylton)

10th Amendment to the Constitution, The Powers of the States and the People, reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee establishes supremacy of US courts over state courts in matters of federal law. Cohens v. Virginia establishes US federal court right of jurisdiction for criminal cases involving Constitutional rights.

14th Amendment to the Constitution, Citizenship Rights, states "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The theory behind nullification is that if a state deems a federal law to be unconstitutional, it can nullify the law within its jurisdiction.
Supreme Court has rejected this practice particularly in Cooper v. Aaron and Bush v. Orleans Parish School District.
Nullification Crisis of 1828-32
Even today the battle of nullification continues in spite of obvious federal opposition. Georgia passed a law in 2009 that reads:
"Any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America."
Essentially, the federal government is granted certain powers. Where the federal government has no authority, the states create the law. Finally, there are areas where neither federal nor state government is allowed to make law.
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