Does State Law Override Federal Law?

Many people are confused about the relationship between state and federal law. Does state law override federal law? The answer is not always simple.

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It’s a question that has come up time and time again: does state law override federal law? The answer, simply put, is no. State law may not override federal law, but in some cases, federal law will preempt state law. Preemption occurs when federal law expressly states that it supersedes state law, or when the subject matter of the federal law is so comprehensive that itOccupational Therapy precludes states from enacting any laws on the same subject.

What is Federal law?

Federal law is the body of law that governs the relationship between the states and the federal government. It also governs matters between the federal government and each state’s citizens. Federal law consists of three types of laws: statutes, regulations, and case law.

A statute is a written law passed by Congress or a state legislature. A regulation is a rule or order issued by a executive branch agency, such as the Department of Justice or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Case law is created by judges through their decisions in court cases.

When Congress passes a statute, it becomes part of the U.S. Code, which is the official compilation of all federal laws. Regulations are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.

Federal law overrides state law when there is a conflict between them. This can happen when Congress passes a law that expressly preempts state law, or when federal and state laws conflict with each other to the extent that it is impossible to comply with both simultaneously. When this happens, courts must determine which law takes precedence.

What is State law?

State law is the body of law that governs interactions between individuals within a U.S. state. It is distinct from federal law, which governs interactions between individuals in multiple states or between individuals and the federal government. Unlike federal law, there is no general state law that applies to all states; each state has its own body of state laws.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident in California, the applicable state laws will be those of California. If the same accident were to happen in Nevada, the applicable state laws would be those of Nevada. State laws can vary significantly from one state to another, which is why it is important to know which state’s laws apply to you.

In some cases, federal law may preempt (override) state law. This can happen when Congress passes a federal law that expressly preempts state law, or when the U.S. Supreme Court holds that a particular federal law impliedly preempts state law. But in most cases, federal law does not preempt state law, and you will need to follow both sets of laws.

How do Federal and State laws interact?

When a conflict arises between federal and state law, the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause provides that federal law generally takes precedence. The Supreme Court has identified three types of preemption: express, field, and conflict.

Express preemption occurs when Congress passes a law that expressly states that it supersedes state law on a particular subject. For example, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) expressly preempts any state law that “relates to” employee benefit plans.

Field preemption occurs when Congress intends for the federal government to occupy an entire regulatory field, thereby rendering state laws in that field invalid. For example, in airline regulation, Congress has entrusted the Federal Aviation Administration with comprehensive authority to regulate interstate air traffic. This comprehensive authority preempts any parallel state regulation.

Conflict preemption occurs where it is impossible for a private party to comply with both state and federal requirements, or where state law actually frustrates the purposes of federal law. In these cases, courts will find that federal law preempts conflicting state laws. For example, if a driver is covered by both his state’s no-fault insurance system and also by a federal long-haul trucking program with different rules, the trucking program will take precedence and preempt the state system.

When does State law override Federal law?

There are a few instances in which state law may override federal law. This can happen when:
-The U.S. Constitution permits it
-A later federal law says so
-The federal government has given the state permission to do so

What are some examples of when State law overrides Federal law?

The Constitution provides that the Federal government may preempt, or override, state law in certain circumstances. For example, Federal law supersedes state law when the Constitution gives the Federal government exclusive power over the subject matter, such as foreign affairs and interstate commerce. In addition, when Congress passes a law that specifically preempts state law—that is, when Congress includes language in the law stating that it supersedes state law—Federal law controls.

What happens when there is a conflict between Federal and State law?

When Federal and State law conflict, the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause provides that Federal law preempts, or overrides, State law. The Supremacy Clause is found in Article VI of the Constitution, and provides that the Constitution itself, Federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority are the “supreme Law of the Land.” This means that when a conflict arises between Federal and State law, courts will typically find that the Federal law prevails.

How can I find out if my State has laws that override Federal law?

In general, Federal laws will preempt (override) state laws when the two laws conflict. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if Congress passes a law that specifically says that it does not preempt state law, or if the Constitution gives states the power to pass their own laws on a particular issue, then state law may still apply.

To find out if your state has any laws that override Federal law, you can contact your state’s Attorney General’s office or your state legislature.


In the United States, federal law is supreme over state law. This is a central principle of the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in 1788. The ” Supremacy Clause” is found in Article VI of the Constitution, and it states that federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”


Federal laws are enacted by Congress and signed by the president. They apply to the entire country and take precedence over state laws.

The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government certain powers, like regulating interstate commerce and coining money. This is called the supremacy clause, and it means that when state and federal laws conflict, federal law wins.

However, the supremacy clause doesn’t mean that state governments are powerless. In fact, most of the day-to-day laws we have to follow are state laws, not federal ones. And in some areas, like education and environmental protection, the states have more power than the feds.

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