Federal v. State Law:
The United States legislative system operates under the doctrine of Federalism. Federalism dictates that the law making duties of the nation will be shared and divided amongst the federal and state legislatures. This creates a central uniformity but an interstate diversity of laws and statutes. While the state governments have the power to make law to govern the citizens, visitors and residents of their state, they may not impose regulations that conflict with the United States Constitution or the Federal laws thereby created to maintain it’s power.
Paralegals work in fields of Federal law when their client’s bring them work involving constitutional issues, federal statutes or federal regulations. When a client’s request involves these issues, it is said to involve or raise a federal question. These actions normally concern the reach or scope of the federal governments involvement in a client’s affairs, as paralegals will normally not be involved in larger proactive revisions to federal law or the constitution.
While the Federal Government is bound to only make laws that execute the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, the statutes made by the State governments have a much broader realm of application. So long as state laws and statutes do not violate the guidelines of the Federal Constitutions, they generally are free to govern the well-being of the citizens at the state’s discretion. Policies regulated at the state level include divorce, adoption, gambling, marriage, age of consent and many other crucial issues.