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Relating to the general government or union of the states; based upon, or created pursuant to, the laws of the Constitution of the United States.

The United States has traditionally been named a federal government in most political and judicial writings. The term federal has not been prescribed by any definite authority but is used to express a broad opinion concerning the nature of the form of government.

A recent tendency has been to use the term national in place of federal to denote the government of the Union. Neither settles any question regarding the nature of authority of the government.

The term federal is generally considered to be more appropriate if the government is to be viewed as a union of the states. National is used to reflect the view that individual state governments and the Union as a whole are two distinct and separate systems, each of which is established directly by the population for local and national purposes, respectively.

In a more general sense, federal is ordinarily used to refer to a league or compact between two or more states to become joined under one central government.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cases involving ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls also fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court.
RFRA requires the federal government to show a "compelling interest" for support of a law that "substantially burdens" the free exercise of religion.
While the intent of McCarran-Ferguson appeared to be securing the states' primary authority over insurance, the federal government's role nevertheless expanded greatly in the decades that followed, especially in health insurance.
The Federal Reserve Board announced on September 20, 2005, the issuance of a final decision and order of prohibition against Brian Bonetti, a former employee of National City Bank, Cleveland, Ohio.
"We are hoping for a clear restatement in a public forum, including the OSC's Web site, that sexual orientation--based discrimination is prohibited in the federal workforce."
In your November 3, 2004, speech, you pledged to "streamline the process with the federal government to design a single corporate income tax collection and processing system." The following day, Finance Minister Sorbara presented the 2004 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review to the Ontario House.
In response to queries about the Federal implications of the Massachusetts decision, Frank Keith, the IRS Chief of Communications and Liaison, represents the IRS's position as follows: "Because of [the DOMA], only married individuals under this definition could elect to file a joint tax return"; see www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.
Meanwhile, the repeal of the Boren Amendment under President Clinton--and never remedied under President Bush--has deprived the federal government of much of its influence on state Medicaid reimbursement rates through federal court appeal.
The overreaching of federal criminal law is especially troubling because institutional and procedural features of the federal system invite prosecutorial abuses, make convictions easier to obtain than in state systems, impose harsh mandatory sentences even for nonviolent acts, and result in disparate treatment of similarly situated defendants.
Indeed, Federal News Radio's listeners tend to be the federal system's office managers and human-resource specialists--those concerned more with retirement plans and healthcare options than issues of high policy.
The federal chief information officer is to be appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.