The United States Constitution provides for a federal government that is
superior to state governments in such matters as the authority to govern
international affairs, national defense, and currency-related issues.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes the Bill of Rights
applicable to each of the states. Federal law governs such things as legislation
passed by the U.S. Congress, executive orders of the President, and decisions
of federal courts that interpret the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme
Court is the final arbiter of federal law. Federal laws are codified in
the U.S. Code.
State law, on the other hand, is the law that governs in each separate
state. State laws are passed by state legislatures and signed by a state’s
governor. State law exists in conjunction with–and sometimes in
conflict with–federal law. When conflicts occur, it is the federal
courts that resolve the issues.