Understanding the Federal Law Definition

Learn about the federal law definition and its impact on society with examples, case studies, and statistics. Discover how federal laws are created and enforced.

What is Federal Law?

Federal law refers to the body of laws created by the federal government of a country. These laws apply to the entire nation and supersede any state or local laws that may conflict with them. Federal laws cover a wide range of topics, including civil rights, environmental protection, taxation, and national security.

How is Federal Law Created?

Federal laws are created by the legislative branch of government, which in the United States is Congress. Congress passes bills that, once signed by the President, become federal laws. These laws are then enforced by the executive branch, which includes agencies like the FBI, EPA, and IRS.

Examples of Federal Laws

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: This landmark legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It paved the way for equal opportunity in employment, education, and public accommodations.
  • The Clean Air Act: This law regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources to protect public health and the environment. It sets standards for pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.
  • The Affordable Care Act: Also known as Obamacare, this law aimed to increase access to healthcare and reduce healthcare costs. It required individuals to have health insurance and mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Case Studies

United States v. Windsor (2013): In this landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. This decision paved the way for same-sex couples to receive federal benefits and recognition.

Brown v. Board of Education (1954): This case overturned the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ in public schools and declared segregation to be unconstitutional. It was a major victory for the civil rights movement.


According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, there were over 370,000 federal cases filed in 2020. These cases cover a wide range of issues, including criminal law, civil rights, and immigration.

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