Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Appertaining to the United States; appertaining to a community of sovereign states. See fi Ohio St. 342.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In constitutional law. A term commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states. In American law. Belonging to the general government or union of the states. Founded on or organized under the constitution or laws of the United States. The United States has been generally styled, in American political and judicial writings, a "federal government" The tenn has not been imposed by any specific constitutional authority, but only expresses the general sense and opinion upon the nature of the form of government. In recent years, there is observable a disposition to employ the term "national" in speaking of the government of the Union. Neither word settles anything as to the nature or power of the government. "Federal" is somewhat more appropriate if the government is considered a union of the states; "national" Is preferable if the view is adopted that the state governments and the Union are two distinct systems, each established by the people directly, one for local and the other for national purposes. See United States v. Cruikshank, 92 In S. 542, 23 L. Eld. 588; Abbott.
    —Federal courts. The courts of the United States. See Courts of the Untted States.
    —Federal government. The -system of government administered in a state formed by the union or confederation of several independent or quasi independent states; also the composite state so formed. In strict usage, there is a distinction between a confederation and a federal government. The former term denotes a league or permanent alliance between several states, each of which ls fully sovereign and independent, and each of which retains its full dignity, organization, and sovereignty, though yielding to the central authority a controlling power for a few limited purposes, such as external and diplomatic relations. In this case, the component states are the units, with respect to the confederation, and the central government acts upon them, not upon the individual citizens. In a federal government, on the other hand, the allied states form a union,
    — not, indeed, to such an extent as to destroy their separate organization or deprive them of quasi sovereignty with respect to the administration of their purely local concerns, but so that the central power is erected into a true state or nation, possessing sovereignty both external and internal,
    —while the administration of national affairs is directed, and its effects felt, not by the separate states deliberating as units, but by the people of nil, in their collective capacity, as citizens of the nation. The distinction is expressed, by the German writers, by the use of the two words " Staatcnbund" and "Bundesstaat;" the former denoting a league or confederation of states, and the latter a federal government, or state formed by means of a league or confederation.
    —Federal question. Cases arising under the constitution of the United States, acts of congress, or treaties, and involving their interpretation or application. and of which jurisdiction is given to the federal courts, are commonly described by the legal profession as cases involving a "federal question." In re Sievers (D. Ct) 91 Fed. 372; U. S. v. Douglas, 113 N. C. 190, 18 S. E. 202; Williams v. Bruffy, 102 U. S. 248, 26 Ij. Ed. 135.