Government laws are those laws that are enacted and enforced by the federal government. The Federal Government of the United States consists of three branches:
- The executive branch;
- The legislative branch; and
- The judicial branch.
Article II of the United States Constitution provides the executive branch power. Pursuant to this Article, the power vested in the President to carry out and enforce federal laws, or laws of the government, was created. It also created and vested the power in the President to serve as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Article I of the Constitution of the United States created the legislative branch of the federal government. It consists of Congress, which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislative branch has many responsibilities, including:
- Making all laws;
- Having the ability to declare war;
- Regulating interstate and foreign commerce; and
- Controlling all taxing and spending policies.
The judicial branch was created by Article III of the United States Constitution. It holds the power to hear court cases and interpret laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.
The executive and legislative branches also create governmental agencies. Governmental agencies and organizations are typically charged with enforcing rights and determining which rights are enforceable.
There have been a number of agencies and programs established by the federal government that implement and enforce laws, including the Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration. Additionally, the Constitution of the United States and its amendments preserve the rights of an individual when they are confronted with a governmental issue. United States citizens are afforded rights such as:
- The right to vote;
- The right to live free from discrimination; and
- The right to exchange ideas.
As noted above, Congress and the state legislatures having given power to many governmental agencies to oversee issues in the following areas of law:
- Environmental law;
- Social security;
- Taxes; and
It is important for an individual to be aware of which governmental agency regulates the issue at hand. Examples of articles that involve government laws that appear on the LegalMatch Law Library are discussed in the sections below.
What are Some Well-Known Government Agencies and Administrations?
There are many well-known government agencies and administrations. As noted previously, the federal government has established a number of agencies and programs that implement and enforce laws. These include agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. LegalMatch articles that discuss these subjects include:
What Does Constitutional Law Cover?
Constitutional law is the body of law that regulates the federal, state, and local governments in the United States. It provides a wide variety of laws that protect and guarantee an individual’s fundamental rights. LegalMatch articles that discuss these subjects include:
- Free Speech and Press;
- The First Amendment;
- Libel and Slander;
- Right to Bear Arms; and
- Voting Rights.
What is Environmental Law?
Currently, there are many different state and federal environmental laws that have been enacted through legislative action and governmental agency actions. Congress has authorized many federal agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to inspect environmental issues and enforce federal environmental regulations and laws. LegalMatch articles on environmental law subjects include:
What are Zoning, Planning, and Land Use Laws?
The federal government and local governments have the right to create uniform neighborhoods and land uses in certain areas. They also have the right to control how an individual can use their property and/or what they can build on their property. These issues may include:
- Creating zoning ordinances;
- Creating separate districts; and
LegalMatch articles that discuss zoning, planning and land use laws include:
- Zoning, Planning, and Land Use;
- How to Find Zoning Laws and Ordinances;
- Violating a Zoning Ordinance; and
- Land Use Regulations.
There are some common types of zoning disputes that may arise. They often involve a dispute between two private, single-family homeowners. For example, two neighbors may have a dispute over where their property line is located. Disputes also commonly occur between a private commercial property and a local city government.
Common zoning disputes may also involve a commercial building which is located near residential neighborhoods. Some common zoning disputes that arise in these situations include:
- A commercial business owner’s parking lot is too near a residential area;
- A residential owner’s views are obstructed by a commercial building that is too tall;
- Commercial signs are placed in such a way that they clutter a neighborhood;
- Setback issues, which refer to the minimum distance that a building can be located from a property line. Most setback ordinances are enacted to avoid a dispute over access to sunlight and/or ventilation. They may also be aesthetic in nature, such as to avoid an overcrowded appearance in a certain zone. They may also require a building to be a certain distance from a roadway for safety purposes; and
- Industrial, agricultural, and/or commercial properties which cause noise, air and/pr water pollution to other nearby properties.
What Are Criminal Procedures and Protections?
Criminal procedure laws provide a number of constitutional protections for defendants who have been accused of a crime and/or criminal conduct and must go through the criminal justice system. For example, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides protections, including:
- The right to an indictment by the grand jury prior to any criminal charges for felonious crimes;
- The prohibition on double jeopardy;
- The protection against forced self-incrimination;
- The guarantee that all criminal defendants receive a fair trial; and
- The guarantee that the government cannot seize private property without making due compensation at the market value of the property.
It is important to note that these laws only prevent acts committed by a law enforcement agency and/or the government, not by a private party. LegalMatch articles on the subject include:
- Unreasonable searches and seizures;
- Protection against self-incrimination;
- The Right to an attorney;
- The Fourth Amendment;
- The Purpose of the 14th Amendment; and
- Miranda Rights and Warnings.
Should I Hire an Attorney for My Problem with the Government?
Yes, it is essential to have the assistance of an experienced government lawyer for any problems you may face with the government. As noted above, there are many different areas of law in which the government is involved. The laws in those areas may be extremely complex.
If you have issues in any of the types of law discussed above, an attorney will be able to help. They can review your case, advise you on what laws apply, and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary.
Additionally, if you find yourself involved in a criminal matter, you should immediately seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Criminal laws and procedural laws vary by jurisdiction as well as the punishments for various crimes. An attorney can advise you of your rights and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary.