Alabama residents are subject to Alabama state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in Alabama as they do across all 50 states. In addition to the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the U.S., federal laws include statutes that are periodically codified in the U.S. Code. Federal laws also include decisions by courts that interpret federal laws. Finally, federal laws include regulations issued by federal administrative agencies to implement federal laws. You can explore federal laws and related resources by visiting the federal law section of the Justia site.
The state of Alabama also has its own state laws. Alabama state laws include the Alabama Constitution, laws passed by the Alabama legislature and periodically codified in the Code of Alabama, and decisions by courts that interpret Alabama laws.
The Alabama Constitution is the longest currently effective constitution in the world. Adopted in 1901, it includes more than 900 amendments. Since the drafters of the Constitution sought to centralize power in the state government, they gave the state legislature substantial control over local issues. The Constitution covers several areas that are often regulated by statutes in other states, such as taxes. Article XVIII provides the processes for amending the Constitution. An amendment proposed by the legislature will appear on a ballot if it is approved by three-fifths of each chamber of the legislature. Alternatively, a proposal for a constitutional convention will appear on a ballot if a majority of each chamber votes in its favor.
The Code of Alabama contains the laws passed by the Alabama legislature. These laws and the provisions of the Alabama Constitution are often interpreted by the Alabama Supreme Court and the Alabama intermediate appellate courts. These are the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Three federal district courts in Alabama also issue decisions that may affect Alabama residents. These are the Northern, Middle, and Southern District Courts of Alabama. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in Alabama. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Eleventh Circuit or from the Alabama Supreme Court.