The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state (or who controls the state). The model was first developed in Ancient Greece and Rome. Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with the powers associated with the other branches. The normal division of branches is into a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary.
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.
Not all nation states have codified constitutions, though all such states have a jus commune, or law of the land, that may consist of a variety of imperative and consensual rules. These may include customary law, conventions, statutory law, judge-made law or international rules and norms.
Public law (lat. ius publicum) is that part of law which governs relationships between individuals and the government, and those relationships between individuals which are of direct concern to the society. Public law comprises constitutional law, administrative law, tax law and criminal law, as well as all procedural law. In public law, mandatory rules (not optional) prevail. Laws concerning relationships between individuals belong to private law.
The relationships public law governs are asymmetric and unequal – government bodies (central or local) can make decisions about the rights of individuals. However, as a consequence of the rule of law doctrine, authorities may only act within the law (secundum et intra legem). The government must obey the law. For example, a citizen unhappy with a decision of an administrative authority can ask a court for judicial review.
The government of the United States of America is the federal government of the republic of fifty states that constitute the United States, as well as one capital district, and several other territories. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
Federalist No. 80 (Federalist Number 80) is an essay by Alexander Hamilton and the eightieth of the Federalist Papers. It was published on June 21, 1788 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all the Federalist Papers were published. It is titled "The Powers of the Judiciary," and it is the third in a series of six essays discussing the powers and limitations of the judicial branch.
Publius begins this essay by describing five areas that the federal Judiciary ought to have jurisdiction over: First, cases which arise out of the laws of the United States; Second, cases which arise out of provisions of the proposed United States Constitution; Third, cases in with the United States is a party; Fourth, all cases that involve "the peace of the confederacy;" and Fifth, all cases that originate on the high seas. He then addresses each of these points in turn.
In the American political system, the fourth branch of government refers to a group that influences the three branches of governance defined in the American Constitution (legislative, judicial, and executive). Such groups can include the press (an analogy for the Fourth Estate), the people, and interest groups. U.S. independent administrative government agencies, while technically part of the executive branch (or, in a few cases, the legislative branch) of government, are sometimes referred to as being part of the fourth branch.
In some cases the term is pejorative because such a fourth branch has no official status. The term is also widely used as a picturesque phrase without derogatory intent. Where the use is intended to be pejorative, it can be a rhetorical shorthand to illustrate the user's belief in the illegitimacy of certain types of governmental authority with a concomitant skepticism towards the origin of such authority.
A federation (Latin: foedus, foederis, 'covenant'), also known as a federal state, is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body.
The governmental or constitutional structure found in a federation is known as federalism. It can be considered the opposite of another system, the unitary state. Germany with sixteen Länder is an example of a federation, whereas neighboring Austria and its Bundesländer was a unitary state with administrative divisions that became federated, and neighboring France by contrast has always been unitary.