Virginia residents are subject to Virginia state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in Virginia 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 Virginia also has its own state laws. Virginia state laws include the Virginia Constitution, laws passed by the Virginia legislature and periodically codified in the Code of Virginia, and decisions by courts that interpret Virginia laws.
The original version of the Virginia Constitution was drafted near the same time as the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It served as a model for the U.S. Constitution and for other state constitutions. However, the current version dates from 1971. Article XII provides the two ways for amending the Constitution. First, under Section 1, an amendment proposed in the legislature will appear on a ballot if it is approved by a majority of each chamber of the legislature in two successive legislative sessions. Alternatively, under Section 2, the legislature can call for a constitutional convention if two-thirds of each chamber votes in favor. Forming a constitutional convention does not require voter approval.
The Code of Virginia contains the laws passed by the Virginia legislature. These laws and the provisions of the Virginia Constitution are often interpreted by the Virginia Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Two federal district courts in Virginia also issue decisions that may affect Virginia residents. These are the Eastern and Western District Courts of Virginia. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in Virginia. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Fourth Circuit or from the Virginia Supreme Court.