State Government Systems

Limits On and Guarantees To the States under the Constitution

                     The Constitution of the United States of America establishes all rights afforded to every person in the United States. "WE, THE PEOPLE" is the most powerful force expressed in the Constitution. States and state governments were given restricted powers by the Constitution. There is no power given to any state that is greater than the powers held by the Federal government or "THE PEOPLE". There is no State law that can be enforced or State constitution that can violate the Constitution of the United States.   The Framers of the Constitution wanted THE PEOPLE, and by extension, their government, (The Federal Government) to be supreme. As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following limits on the powers of the individual states:


Limits on the Powers of the States    

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin
a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law
impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

                No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on
                Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection
                Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or
                Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall
                be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

                No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops,
                or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another
                State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
                                                  imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

                                  The   Constitution of the United States provides certain protections to each state and thereby to THE PEOPLE. The Framers believed that these protections helped to give equal weight to the interests of all states, particularly considering the organization of the Congress. As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following protections for the states:

                                                                               Protections for the States:

                                     Article. I. - The Legislative Branch
      
                                          Section 8 - Powers of Congress

                                         The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to
                                         pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United
                                         States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
                                         To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
                                         To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the
                                          Indian Tribes;

                                         To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the
                                         United States; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of
                                         Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
                                         To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of
                                         Weights and Measures;

                                         To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
                                         To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
                                         Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

                                       

                                         To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
                                         To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses
                                         against the Law of Nations;

                                       
                                         To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning
                                         Captures on Land and Water;
                                         To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a
                                          longer Term than two Years;
                                         To provide and maintain a Navy;

                                         To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
                                         To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress
                                         Insurrections and repel Invasions;

                                         To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such
                                         Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the
                                         States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the
                                         Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

                                         To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not
                                         exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance
                                         of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise
                                         like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in
                                         which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and
                                         other needful Buildings; And

                                         To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the
                                         foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of
                                         the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

 

         

                                                    Article. IV. - The States

                                              Section 3 - New States

                                                 New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be
                                                   formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by
                                                   the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the
                                                   Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

                                                   The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations
                                                   respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in
                                                   this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or
                                                   of any particular State.

                                                 Section 4 - Republican government

                                                 The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
                                                   Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the
                                                   Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against
                                                   domestic Violence.


                                                  Article. V. - Amendment

                                            The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose
                                                 Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds
                                                 of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either
                                                 Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified
                                                 by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three
                                                 fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the
                                                 Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
                                                 thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses
                                                 in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be
                                                 deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
                                              The Constitution of the United States further provided certain rules for how the States act and interact with each other. The Framers believed that how the States deal with each other helped to give equal weight to the interests of all states.  As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following rules for how the States interact:                                                                   
                                                              Rules Governing how the States Interact:

 

                                                              Article. IV. - The States

                                                         Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others

                                                              Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial
                                                                 Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the
                                                                 Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect
                                                                 thereof.
                             
                                                                 Section 2 - State citizens, Extradition

                                                                 The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in
                                                                 the several States.
                                                                 A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from
                                                                 Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the
                                                                 State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction
                                                                 of the Crime.

                                                                 (No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into
                                                                  another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from
                                                                 such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such
                                                                 Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th
                                                                Amendment.)

                   
                                 NOTE:
                                All Amendments shown above were referenced and re-copied from information found at USConstitution.net.                      Find the entire United States Constitution at: http://www.usconstitution.net.

 

 

                                                                    State Government Systems
             In the United States, all state governments are modeled after the Federal government system. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:
            "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."
These powers are divided between state and local governments.
The United States Constitution demands and mandates that all states uphold a "republican form" of government.  This simply means that individuals are elected   to represent the citizens in each state and also nationally. All states have their own State Constitutions. There is no requirement for states to have three branches of government, though all states in the United States follow this structure.

 


Executive Branch of State Government

The Executive Branch of each state government is headed by an elected Governor. The Governor is elected directly by the people of each state. In most states, other constitutional officers are also directly elected. These officials include the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and state-wide auditors and commissioners. Each state reserves the right to organize in any way, so from state to state, executive branches can be different.

 

Legislative Branch of State Government
State Legislatures mirror the Legislative Branch of the federal government. Elected representatives make up the legislatures in all fifty of the United States. State legislatures consider matters introduced by their members to create legislation that becomes law. They also consider matters brought forth by the Governor of each state. The Legislative Branch of each state approves the state budget, initiates other legislation and articles of impeachment.

Almost all states have legislatures comprised of two chambers, a smaller upper chamber or the Senate and a larger lower chamber, usually called the House of Representatives. Those elected in the Senate usually serve at least 4 year terms, while those in the House of Representatives usually serve shorter terms of 2 years.      Some states refer to the lower chamber as the "House of Delegates" or the "Assembly."  The only state in the United States to have one legislative chamber is the State of Nebraska. It is comprised of 49 members, chosen by districts. The members or Senators all have 4-year terms, with half of the body being up for election every second year. This results in one-half of the members being up for election the same time as the President of the United States and the other half being up for election when all other state-wide officials are elected. Each Senator is limited to 2 consecutive terms.  In Nebraska, non-partisan elections are held to choose the Senators. No Democratic or Republican primaries are held.

Judicial Branch of State Government
All states also have a judicial branch of government modeled after the Judicial Branch of the United States government. This branch in each state is usually led by the State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court hears appeals from lower-level state courts. The structure of each state supreme court is determined by the state legislature or the constitution of each state.
State Supreme Courts focus on correcting errors made in lower state courts, therefore in most states; state supreme courts normally hold no trials. Rulings made in state supreme courts are usually binding.   All rulings made by state supreme courts must be consistent with the United States Constitution. When questions about the constitutionality of state Supreme Court rulings arise, they can be appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court as Federal Law is always supreme and state laws cannot violate the United States Constitution.

 

 

NOTE: Local government powers cannot violate or supersede the state constitutions and the state codes or state laws of the state where the entity is located.  Local government powers cannot supersede or violate the United States Constitution and Federal Codes or Federal Laws. The United States Constitution and Federal Codes or Federal Laws are always the supreme laws of the land.
For more information or assistance, please see the following sections on this website:
About FSFAC
Key Issues
Our Cases
Support FSFAC
FSFAC Advocacy
Problem Solving
FSFAC Resources
Contact Us
Blog
The Bill of Rights
Independent Checks (Federal and States)
Independent Checks (States only)
Citizens and Community Legal Clinic

Limits On and Guarantees To the States under the Constitution

                     The Constitution of the United States of America establishes all rights afforded to every person in the United States. "WE, THE PEOPLE" is the most powerful force expressed in the Constitution. States and state governments were given restricted powers by the Constitution. There is no power given to any state that is greater than the powers held by the Federal government or "THE PEOPLE". There is no State law that can be enforced or State constitution that can violate the Constitution of the United States.   The Framers of the Constitution wanted THE PEOPLE, and by extension, their government, (The Federal Government) to be supreme. As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following limits on the powers of the individual states:

Limits on the Powers of the States    

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin
a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law
impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on
Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection
Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or
Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall
be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops,
or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another
State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

                     The Constitution of the United States provides certain protections to each state and thereby to THE PEOPLE. The Framers believed that these protections helped to give equal weight to the interests of all states, particularly considering the organization of the Congress. As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following protections for the states:

Protections for the States:

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to
pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United
States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the
Indian Tribes;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the
United States; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of
Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of
Weights and Measures;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses
against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning
Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a
longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress
Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such
Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the
States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the
Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not
exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance
of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise
like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in
which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and
other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the
foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of
the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Article. IV. - The States

Section 3 - New States

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be
formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by
the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the
Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations
respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in
this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or
of any particular State.

Section 4 - Republican government

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the
Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against
domestic Violence.


Article. V. - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose
Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds
of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either
Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified
by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three
fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the
Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses
in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be
deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

                 The Constitution of the United States further provided certain rules for how the States act and interact with each other. The Framers believed that how the States deal with each other helped to give equal weight to the interests of all states. As ratified on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States set forth the following rules for how the States interact: 

Rules Governing how the States Interact:

Article. IV. - The States

Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial
Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the
Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect
thereof.

                             
Section 2 - State citizens, Extradition

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in
the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from
Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the
State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction
of the Crime.

(No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into
another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from
such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such
Service or Labour may be due.)
(This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th
Amendment.)

NOTE:
All Amendments shown above were referenced and re-copied from information found at USConstitution.net.
Find the entire United States Constitution at: http://www.usconstitution.net.

State Government Systems

                   In the United States, all state governments are modeled after the Federal government system. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

                 "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."

These powers are divided between state and local governments.

The United States Constitution demands and mandates that all states uphold a "republican form" of government.  This simply means that individuals are elected   to represent the citizens in each state and also nationally. All states have their own State Constitutions. There is no requirement for states to have three branches of government, though all states in the United States follow this structure.

Executive Branch of State Government

The Executive Branch of each state government is headed by an elected Governor. The Governor is elected directly by the people of each state. In most states, other constitutional officers are also directly elected. These officials include the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and state-wide auditors and commissioners. Each state reserves the right to organize in any way, so from state to state, executive branches can be different.

Legislative Branch of State Government

State Legislatures mirror the Legislative Branch of the federal government. Elected representatives make up the legislatures in all fifty of the United States. State legislatures consider matters introduced by their members to create legislation that becomes law. They also consider matters brought forth by the Governor of each state. The Legislative Branch of each state approves the state budget, initiates other legislation and articles of impeachment.

Almost all states have legislatures comprised of two chambers, a smaller upper chamber or the Senate and a larger lower chamber, usually called the House of Representatives. Those elected in the Senate usually serve at least 4 year terms, while those in the House of Representatives usually serve shorter terms of 2 years.      Some states refer to the lower chamber as the "House of Delegates" or the "Assembly."  The only state in the United States to have one legislative chamber is the State of Nebraska. It is comprised of 49 members, chosen by districts. The members or Senators all have 4-year terms, with half of the body being up for election every second year. This results in one-half of the members being up for election the same time as the President of the United States and the other half being up for election when all other state-wide officials are elected. Each Senator is limited to 2 consecutive terms.  In Nebraska, non-partisan elections are held to choose the Senators. No Democratic or Republican primaries are held.

Judicial Branch of State Government

All states also have a judicial branch of government modeled after the Judicial Branch of the United States government. This branch in each state is usually led by the State Supreme Court. The State Supreme Court hears appeals from lower-level state courts. The structure of each state supreme court is determined by the state legislature or the constitution of each state.

State Supreme Courts focus on correcting errors made in lower state courts, therefore in most states; state supreme courts normally hold no trials. Rulings made in state supreme courts are usually binding.   All rulings made by state supreme courts must be consistent with the United States Constitution. When questions about the constitutionality of state Supreme Court rulings arise, they can be appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court as Federal Law is always supreme and state laws cannot violate the United States Constitution.

 

NOTE: Local government powers cannot violate or supersede the state constitutions and the state codes or state laws of the state where the entity is located.  Local government powers cannot supersede or violate the United States Constitution and Federal Codes or Federal Laws. The United States Constitution and Federal Codes or Federal Laws are always the supreme laws of the land.

For more information or assistance, please see the following sections on this website:

About FSFAC
Key Issues
Our Cases
Support FSFAC
FSFAC Advocacy
Problem Solving
FSFAC Resources
Contact Us
Blog
The Bill of Rights
Independent Checks (Federal and States)
Independent Checks (States only)
Citizens and Community Legal Clinic