The United States of America has a federal system of government. There is a written constitution and a common law that prevails throughout the country. The legal system is complex and covers different areas. The legal process of the United States has many levels and includes codified and uncodified form of laws.
The US Constitution codifies the core values of people. Courts have the responsibility to interpret the laws passed by Congress. The federal laws in the US are a compilation and codification of general and federal statutes. In addition to the federal laws, the constitution allows each state to establish its set of laws. Hence, there are two sets of laws that govern the states, state laws, and federal laws.
The purpose of the legal system is to establish rules that the residents need to comply with. There are penalties and punishments for breaking the laws. The severity of the punishment depends on the nature of the illegal activity.
The boundaries of Federal laws as established by the Constitution are:
- Acts of Congress
- Treaties ratified by the Senate
- Regulations promulgated by the executive branch
- Case law as purported by the federal judiciary
Federal laws are bills passed by both houses of the parliament and signed by the president. The general rules and regulations are published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is published by National Archives and Records Administration. It contains details such as federal agency regulations, rules and notices proposed presidential documents including executive orders, proclamations, etc. It is published each business day by executive departments and agencies of the federal government.
There are three formats in which Federal laws are published namely:
Initial publication or slip laws:
They are individually paginated pamphlets with a single statute on each page. These pamphlets are compiled and bound and used as Sessions laws as enacted in the session of the legislature. Federal slip laws, sessions laws, and codified laws can be accessed through electronic sources.
Statues published as law numbers in the United States Statutes at Large:
United States Statutes at Large includes all the private and public laws passed in a session.
It also includes:
- Concurrent resolutions
- Reorganization plans
- Proposed and ratified amendments to the Constitution
- Proclamations by the President.
Codification in the United States Code:
The United States Code contains Statutes that are organized according to the subject and each subject has its specific title. The United States Code also includes a subject index and different helpful tables that depict where frequently-referenced laws are codified.
Federal laws are established in two forms:
Public laws that affect society as a whole. These laws are codified according to the US Codes.
Private laws that affect the individual, family, or a small group of people. These laws are not codified.
Although the Federal laws are established by the Constitution, their scope is restricted because each state is a plenary sovereign in the US with its own constitution and laws.
The complexities of the American legal system are difficult to understand. Hence, it is recommended that you consult an experienced attorney for any legal matter. Ward K Johnson Law Firm has the best lawyers who specialize in different areas of law.