What is the difference between federal law and state law?

The United States Constitution provides for a federal government that is superior to state governments in such matters as the authority to govern international affairs, national defense, and currency-related issues.  The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes the Bill of Rights applicable to each of the states.  Federal law governs such things as legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, executive orders of the President, and decisions of federal courts that interpret the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of federal law.  Federal laws are codified in the U.S. Code.

State law, on the other hand, is the law that governs in each separate state.  State laws are passed by state legislatures and signed by a state’s governor.  State law exists in conjunction with–and sometimes in conflict with–federal law.  When conflicts occur, it is the federal courts that resolve the issues.

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