Portal:Government of the United States

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The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

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Congressman John Bingham of Ohio was the principal framer of the Equal Protection Clause.
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Equal Protection Clause can be seen as an attempt to secure the promise of the United States' professed commitment to the proposition that "all men are created equal" by empowering the judiciary to enforce that principle against the states. More concretely, the Equal Protection Clause, along with the rest of the Fourteenth Amendment, marked a great shift in American constitutionalism. Before the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Bill of Rights protected individual rights only from invasion by the federal government. After the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted, the Constitution also protected rights from abridgement by state leaders, and governments, even including some rights that arguably were not protected from abridgement by the federal government. In the wake of the Fourteenth Amendment, the states could not, among other things, deprive people of the equal protection of the laws. What exactly such a requirement means, of course, has been the subject of great debate, and the story of the Equal Protection Clause is the gradual explication of its meaning. One of the main limitations in the Equal Protection Clause is that it limits only the powers of government bodies, and not the private parties on whom it confers equal protection.

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LOC Main Reading Room Highsmith.jpg
The reading room of the Library of Congress
Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith

Current Administration

Obama Administration activity

In the news

17 July 2019 –
Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán is sentenced to life in prison plus thirty years, and was ordered to forfeit US$12.6 billion. He accused the U.S. government of "torture and corruption" during his sentence hearing. He will likely be sent to ADX Florence to serve his sentence. (CNBC)
17 July 2019 – Efforts to impeach Donald Trump
The U.S. House of Representatives votes 332-95 to defeat an impeachment measure against U.S. President Donald Trump. It is the first time a formal vote on impeachment against Trump has taken place since the Democratic Party took control of the House in 2018. (CNN)
16 July 2019 –
Nate Sutton, associate general counsel of Amazon, in testimony before a committee of the U.S. Senate, denies that the company uses individual data to compete unfairly with smaller sellers using its third-party platform. (Seeking Alpha)
13 July 2019 –
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the conditions under which asylum seekers are being held in facilities along the U.S. border with Mexico are unacceptable, after visiting two federal detention centers in Texas, remaining the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration to say so. He calls upon the U.S. Congress to act. (CNN)
10 July 2019 – United Kingdom–United States relations
Sir Kim Darroch, the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States, resigns his appointment amid public disagreements with U.S. President Donald Trump initiated by a series of leaked diplomatic cables in which the ambassador criticized the president, and will leave the post upon the appointment of his successor. (BBC)
10 July 2019 – List of lawsuits involving Donald Trump
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismisses a lawsuit by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia against President Donald Trump, citing lack of legal standing in challenging payments to President Trump's private properties by foreign customers. (CNBC) (Politico)

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