Portal:Government of the United States

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The federal government of the United States is the central United States governmental body, established by the United States Constitution. The federal government has three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. Through a system of separation of powers and the system of "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches. The policies of the federal government have a broad impact on both the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. In addition, the powers of the federal government as a whole are limited by the Constitution, which, per the Tenth Amendment, reserves all power not directed to the National government, to the individual states, respectively, or "to the people". The seat of the federal government is in the federal district of Washington, D.C.

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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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Abraham Lincoln head on shoulders photo portrait.jpg
Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States.
Photo credit: Alexander Gardner

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