Legal America

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American Legal System:
Federal and State Governments and the Supremacy Clause

Sarah Sayegh
Professor McElligott
15 January 2015
Unit 3
“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…” Drafted in Philadelphia in 1787, the United States Constitution has been the founding legal document of our government. One preamble, seven articles and twenty-seven amendments have allowed for our nation to prosper and grow. Following the principles of federalism, the federal government and state governments coexist and make laws within their own designated territories. The organization and structure of the American legal system is based on federalism, which allows our country to be controlled by two levels of government. While the federal government controls military powers, declares war, prints money etc. the state governments are designed to handle less severe but still crucial situations such as, regulating interstate commerce, conduct elections, establish local governments, set up schools etc. Such a strong organized government has created fairness, structure and most importantly freedom as both the federal and state governments work within their means and support each other. The US Constitution divides the federal government into three branches, the legislative branch, executive branch and judicial branch. In doing so, it ensures a government in which no group gains more power then the other. The legislative branch creates the laws in which we abide by (congress), the executive branch i.e. the President, Vice President and their Cabinet, carries out the laws and the judicial branch evaluates the laws and declares them as constitutional or unconstitutional. In creating this balance, the framers of the Constitution hoped to form what they called "a more perfect union" — a government that would not only serve the people but would also be a…...

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