Portal:Government of the United States

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Obverse of the Great Seal of the United States
United States Congressional Seal
The Seal Of The President Of The United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court

The federal government of the United States is the central United States governmental body, established by the United States Constitution. The federal government has three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. Through a system of separation of powers and the system of "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches. The policies of the federal government have a broad impact on both the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. In addition, the powers of the federal government as a whole are limited by the Constitution, which, per the Tenth Amendment, reserves all power not directed to the National government, to the individual states, respectively, or "to the people". The seat of the federal government is in the federal district of Washington, D.C.

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Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.svg
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco, is a U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in western states, Alaska, and Hawaii. The court is by far the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, with 29 active judgeships. The court's regular meeting places are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Pasadena, but panels of the court occasionally travel to hear cases in other locations within its territorial jurisdiction. The large size of the current court is due to the fact that both the population of the western states and the geographic jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit have increased dramatically since Congress created it in 1891. The cultural and political makeup of the Ninth Circuit is just as varied as the land within its geographical borders. Despite this, one frequent criticism of the Ninth Circuit is its alleged political liberalism. The large size of the court is another unique characteristic; there are periodic calls to split the court into two smaller circuits.

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LOC Main Reading Room Highsmith.jpg
reading room of the Library of Congress
Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith

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