Statutory Law-Preemption

A general principle that applies to this statutory scheme is a principle known as preemption. When there is a conflict on a specific issue between federal statutory law and state statutory law, federal law will generally preempt, or supersede, the state law. That same principle applies in regard to a conflict between state law and local law. Local government cannot enact legislation that is contrary to the state statutory law. The logic behind this concept is that there has to be one entity that is supreme. For instance, it would be an absurd situation if the federal government passed an income tax law and then certain states decided that their citizens would not have to comply with that law. The American Civil War was fought in part over the issue of states’ rights—whether the federal government was going to be supreme or whether the states were going to be supreme on the issue of slavery.
 

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