Government law refers to laws created by the federal government. This includes government regulation and government enforcement acts as well as the more well-known rights and obligations in the constitution and its amendments. The Bill of Rights includes many of the most well-known rights to people and citizens in the United States. These rights were only guaranteed against federal government action until the fourteenth amendment passed in the aftermath of the civil war.
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UPDATED: Feb 18, 2021
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- Government law refers to the rights and privileges conferred on people by the Constitution and by government action.
- The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution and confers many of the most well-known constitutional rights people think of.
- The Bill of Rights only applied to action by the federal government until the fourteenth amendment made it apply to state government action as well.
Government law examines interactions between the public and the government. Whenever a citizen or other person interacts with the government or an agent of the government there are laws and standards that must be followed.
Some laws are designed to protect individual taxpayers; and others, the public at large. In general, there are two major categories of protections: civil rights emanating from the U.S. Bill of Rights, and federal regulations and acts such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that build upon those civil rights.
If you believe that your rights have been violated by an act of the government, finding a civil rights or government law attorney is essential. Use our FREE search tool to find an attorney experienced with government regulations.
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights — the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution — originated to protect citizens and others within the United States from the actions of the federal government, and were made applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment.
The 14th Amendment contains language that specifically requires states to provide all people within their jurisdiction equal protection under law. As a result, both state and federal governments may not infringe on fundamental rights without a compelling reason to do so. Lesser rights not considered fundamental are also protected to some extent.
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Federal laws (and some state protections) enhancing civil rights are another category of government law discussed here. Over time, Congress has added numerous laws and enforcement acts to the protections provided by the Constitution that specifically protect the rights of the people.
For example, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1968 protect against discrimination on the basis of race. Most state constitutions and legislation also contribute to civil rights protections for their citizens. Among other issues, we examine the rights of the people to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and the rights of those within certain classes to be free from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and by government agencies and officials.
Other Areas of Government Law
Other laws and regulations pertaining to interactions with the government include:
Education Law: the rights of students, laws that apply to public schools, including anti-discrimination laws, as well as laws and regulations pertaining to attendance, discipline, dress codes, and special education.
Public Contracts: an area of law relating to people and government and the relationships between them. Since the United States Government and state and local governments require goods and services to operate, public contracts between the government and businesses are common and are strictly regulated in order to protect the public and taxpayers and to prevent patronage and favoritism.
Social Security Law: information on applying for benefits, eligibility of beneficiaries and their family members, and appealing benefit assessments are just a few of the topics examined.
Enforcing rights conferred upon people by the government can be difficult for an individual. Understanding all the various rights and rules permitted by the constitution and subsequent government action is just the beginning.
After all, it isn’t just what all these thousands of pages of documents say but also how courts have interpreted these words over decades and even centuries that determines what your rights mean.
Navigating a challenge to your constitutional or civil rights would be impossible without an experienced government law attorney. You can search for a government or civil rights lawyer with our FREE search tool right now.