Federal enclave

In United States law, a "federal enclave" is a parcel of federal property within a state that is under the "Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States."[1] As of 1960, the year of the latest comprehensive inquiry,[2] seven percent of federal property had enclave status, of which four percent (almost all in Alaska and Hawaii) was under "concurrent" state jurisdiction. The remaining three percent, on which some state laws do not apply, is scattered almost at random throughout the United States. In 1960, there were about 5,000 enclaves, with about one million people living on them.[3] These numbers would undoubtedly be lower today because many of these areas were military bases that have been closed and transferred out of federal ownership.

Since late 1950s, it has been an official federal policy that the states should have full concurrent jurisdiction on all federal enclaves,[4] an approach endorsed by some legal experts.[5]

Relation to other subdivisions

Since the 1953 Howard v. Commissioners case the Supreme Court has held[6] that the collection of city and state taxes from federal enclave residents is permissible, establishing the "Friction Not Fiction" doctrine.

Residents of federal enclaves have the right to vote in the elections of the state in which the federal enclave is situated. This is based on the "Friction Not Fiction" doctrine, and was challenged by a Maryland law in 1968, the subject of the case Evans v. Cornman. The case was decided by the Supreme Court in 1970, and overruled the Maryland law, upholding the voting rights of enclave residents and establishing that they should be regarded as residents of the state in question.[7]

Federal enclaves are to be distinguished from federal territories and possessions administered under Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2, which once included all the territory that has since become states, and still includes insular territories like Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and a few others. Historically, the Congress has not exercised a full array of state-like powers over such territories, but tried to organize them into self-governing entities, as was done with the Northwest Ordinance and the Southwest Ordinance.


Early developments

The first federal enclaves were created by the same clause of the Constitution that created the District of Columbia. That clause provides for the United States to exercise "exclusive Legislation" over the new Seat of Government and "like authority" over:

all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.[8]

As a result of the Enclave Clause, whenever the state government consented to the purchase of property by the federal government for a needful building, the United States obtained exclusive legislative jurisdiction over that parcel of property. In 1841, the Congress enacted a general law requiring state consent for all federal building projects.[9] Moreover, the Attorneys General of the United States ruled that, in consenting to purchase, the States could reserve no jurisdiction except for the service of criminal and civil process." [10]

1885: Cession and reservation as alternatives

In 1885, the Supreme Court ruled that there were two additional ways in which the United States could acquire federal enclaves: (1) the states could "cede" legislative jurisdiction to the United States, and (2) the United States could "reserve" legislative jurisdiction at the time of statehood. The Supreme Court added that these "cessions" and "reservations" were not limited to Enclave Clause ("needful building") purposes.[11]

Because state laws did not apply to federal enclaves, Congress provided a few basic criminal laws in the Federal Crimes Act of 1790, and later adopted a series of Assimilative Crimes Acts, "federalizing" each state's crimes by making them prosecutable in federal courts.[12]

International law rule

Congress provided no civil laws to govern these enclaves. So in 1885, the Supreme Court held that the "international law rule," applied. That rule provides that when a territory is transferred from one government to another (such as when a federal enclave is ceded), laws for the protection of private rights continue in force until abrogated or changed by the new government.[13][14]

Under the doctrine of extraterritoriality, a federal enclave was treated as a "state within a state" until 1953, and therefore enclave residents were not residents of the state.[15] They could not vote in state elections,[16] attend public schools,[17] obtain a divorce in state courts,[18] or call upon state law enforcement officers to protect them from criminals.[19]

After 1900: Congress begins to authorize state laws

Nevertheless, Congress gradually authorized the enforcement of some state laws on federal enclaves. Thus, in 1928, Congress made applicable to federal enclaves state laws governing wrongful death and personal injuries.[20] And in the late 1930s Congress authorized states to apply their state taxes on fuel,[21] income, sales and use (the "Buck Act"),[22] and state laws governing worker's compensation[23] and unemployment insurance.[24]

1937: Supreme Court allows states to reserve jurisdiction

In 1937, because of concern over the lack of state law on federal enclaves, the Supreme Court held that the states could reserve some jurisdiction to themselves in consenting to federal legislative jurisdiction.[25] In response, the states began to amend their "consent" and "cession" statutes to reserve state jurisdiction, including the power to tax enclave residents.

To distinguish earlier "exclusive" jurisdiction enclaves from those acquired after the state amendments, the newer enclaves were labeled "partial" jurisdiction, and the label "concurrent" was given to enclaves over which the state had full jurisdiction. Finally, non-enclave federal property was called, "Proprietorial Interest Only." [26]

February 1, 1940: Congress discourages new enclaves

Effective February 1, 1940, Congress repealed the 1841 statute requiring state consent to federal purchases, and instead said that the acquisition of federal property after that date, would no longer result in the transfer of jurisdiction to the United States unless the head of the federal agency in charge of the property filed a notice with the state governor accepting whatever jurisdiction was offered by the state.[27] However, during World War II, the United States acquired many new military installations, and the Secretary of War sent numerous letters to state governors accepting whatever jurisdiction the state offered, often without describing the location or boundaries of these military installations.[28]

Post-WWII: Courts apply state laws without retrocession

After World War II, the states began to apply state laws to enclave residents without waiting for Congress to act.[29] Thus, in 1952, a California court gave enclave residents the right to vote in state elections, rejecting the "extraterritoriality" doctrine, and holding that enclave residents were residents of the state.[30] In 1970, the Supreme Court agreed, in Evans v. Cornman, holding that all enclave residents have a right to vote in state elections.[31]

In 1950, without addressing the jurisdictional issue directly, Congress passed legislation providing federal financial aid to schools in localities impacted by federal facilities.[32] Six years later, in 1956, the government reported that because of this federal aid, "not a single child is being denied the right to a public school education because of his residence on a federal enclave."[33]

Earlier, courts in Kansas, Georgia, and New Mexico held they had no jurisdiction to grant divorces to residents of federal enclaves. But after each state amended its divorce statutes to permit such divorces, court decisions in each state upheld the validity of these statutes.[34] Today, every state treats enclave residents as residents of the state for purposes of divorce proceedings.[35]

1953: Abolishment of the extraterritoriality doctrine

The extraterritoriality doctrine was abolished by the Supreme Court in 1953 in Howard v. Commissioners.[36] The city of Louisville, Kentucky, had annexed a federal enclave into its city limits, thereby allowing the collection of city taxes from enclave residents under the Buck Act.[22] Residents of the enclave argued that the annexation was improper because the federal enclave "ceased to be a part of Kentucky when the United States assumed exclusive jurisdiction over it." The Supreme Court rejected the argument, holding that the annexation did not interfere with federal functions, and what was important was "friction, not fiction":[37]

A change of municipal boundaries did not interfere in the least with the jurisdiction of the United States within the area or with its use or disposition of the property. The fiction of a state within a state can have no validity to prevent the state from exercising its power over the federal area within its boundaries, so long as there is no interference with the jurisdiction asserted by the Federal Government. The sovereign rights in this dual relationship are not antagonistic. Accommodation and cooperation are their aim. It is friction, not fiction, to which we must give heed.

1956: Congress can authorize state law without retrocession

In 1956, three years after Howard v. Commissioners, the Supreme Court in Offutt Housing Co. v. Sarpy County upheld Congress' power to authorize the application of state laws to federal enclaves without a "relinquishment" of jurisdiction. In affirming the state's right to tax a private builder of military housing, the Supreme Court emphasized that the Congress' authorization for state taxation on enclave property was not a retrocession: "We do not hold that Congress has relinquished this power over these areas. We hold only that Congress, in the exercise of this power, has permitted such state taxation as is involved in the present case."[38]

1956: Concurrent jurisdiction

Federal government reports in 1956 and 1957 concluded that the states should have full concurrent jurisdiction on all federal enclaves.[39] In 1969, the Public Land Law Review Commission published a report on developments since the 1956 and 1957 reports, observing that those reports had been successful in changing federal agency policy and limiting further acquisition of federal enclaves.[40] The 1969 report[2] said that in 1960, there were about 5,000 enclaves with about a million people living on them.[3] These numbers have never been updated, but they would certainly be lower today, because many military bases have been closed, and jurisdiction over most off-base housing areas has been transferred to the states.

1970: "Friction Not Fiction" reiterated

In 1970, a year after the 1969 Report, the Supreme Court in Evans v. Cornman unanimously held that enclave residents have a right to vote in state elections. In reaching this result, Evans reiterated the "friction not fiction" doctrine of Howard v. Commissioners, and reaffirmed that enclave residents should be regarded as residents of the state.[7]

Evans also unanimously reaffirmed the holding in Offutt Housing that Congress could give the states jurisdiction without relinquishing enclave status.[41] The court relied in part on the fact that Congress had authorized the states to enforce many state laws on federal enclaves.[42]

Some criminal laws have also been authorized by Congress to apply on federal enclaves, including "immigrant stations"[43] and Job Corps Centers.[44] In addition, the states' power to enforce their tax laws on federal enclaves necessarily includes the power to prosecute enclave residents criminally for violating those laws.[45]

Under Evans, Congress has the power, if it chooses, to authorize the enforcement of all state laws on federal enclaves. It need not "retrocede" or "relinquish" federal jurisdiction. Instead, it can—to use Offutt Housing's language—simply "permit" all state laws to apply to all federal property regardless of "federal enclave" status.[46]

In addition, the "friction not fiction" doctrine indicates that the courts can approve the application state laws to federal enclaves to the same extent that they apply to the other 97 percent of federal lands (i.e., subject only to the limitations of the Supremacy Clause).[47] With regard to the states' ability unilaterally to apply their laws on federal enclaves, Evans noted that enclave residents:[48]

are required to register their automobiles in Maryland and obtain driver's permits and license plates from the State; they are subject to the process and jurisdiction of State courts; they themselves can resort to those courts in divorce and child adoption proceedings; and they send their children to Maryland public schools.

Current legal status

State laws enforceable

In addition to these laws mentioned by Evans, such court-applied laws include state probate laws,[49] public welfare laws,[50] laws relating to mentally ill persons,[51] juvenile delinquency,[52] protection of abused and neglected children,[53] and domestic violence restraining orders.[54]

State laws not enforceable

Nevertheless, there are other cases which hold that some state laws do not apply on enclaves, including most state criminal laws, liquor laws,[55] personal property taxes,[56] some utility regulations,[57] human rights laws,[58] anti-discrimination laws,[59] racial discrimination laws,[60] whistleblower laws,[61] state occupational safety and health (OSHA) laws,[62] wage and hour laws,[63] and right-to-work laws.[64]

Effect of Mississippi Tax I opinion

Many of these decisions are based on the extraterritoriality doctrine that was abolished by Howard and Evans. They often rely on dicta in the Supreme Court's 1973 "Mississippi Tax I opinion" (United States v. State Tax Commission of Mississippi)[55] which ignored Howard and Evans and instead favorably quoted the district court's assertion that enclaves are "foreign land" and "federal islands which no longer constitute any part of Mississippi nor function under its control."

Nevertheless, Mississippi Tax I's holding—that the Twenty-first Amendment did not authorize a state "markup" on liquor—made it unnecessary to discuss enclave jurisdiction, so the "foreign lands" language was quite unnecessary.[65] On the other hand, in 1990, the Supreme Court treated Mississippi Tax I as an enclave case, citing it for the proposition that a state has no authority to regulate a transaction between an out-of-state liquor supplier and a federal military base under exclusive federal jurisdiction.[66]

Still, no court has suggested that Mississippi Tax I changed the "friction not fiction" rule of Howard and Evans. The Texas Court of Appeals noted the conflict and followed the "friction not fiction" rule in holding that the federal enclave at Red River Army Depot was part of Texas for state tax purposes.[67] In upholding a state tax on aircraft parts, the court distinguished Mississippi Tax I on the ground that unlike the liquor markup in that case, in Aviall Services, Inc. v. Tarrant Appraisal Dist.:[68]

[T]here was no interference with federal jurisdiction by the taxing entities; hence, no friction. Therefore, we will not apply the fiction that the Depot was a foreign country or a sister state to deem that the aviation parts were shipped by Aviall "outside the state" when they were shipped to a location in Bowie County near Texarkana, within the geographic limits of Texas.

Similarly, the California Court of Appeal has acknowledged Mississippi Tax I's statements about the enclave clause with regard to state liquor regulations, but nevertheless relied on Howard and Evans to hold that the enclave clause did not prevent the application of state laws protecting dependent children.[69]

Recent developments in National Forests

For many years, it was believed that "the vast majority" of National Forests were not federal enclaves.[70] However, federal appeals courts in North Carolina, Michigan, and Oklahoma have recently ruled that "cession" statutes in each of those states ceded concurrent jurisdiction over National Forest lands acquired by the United States before February 1, 1940.[71] Depending on the wording of "cession" statutes in other states, these cases may mean that the United States has considerable concurrent "enclave" jurisdiction in National Forests.[72]


  1. ^ 18 U.S.C. §7(3). See United States Department of Justice Criminal Resource Manual § 1630
  2. ^ a b Federal legislative jurisdiction: report. Washington, D.C.: Public Land Law Review Commission, Land and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice. 1969. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b Id., at 146.
  5. ^ Roger W. Haines, Jr., FEDERAL ENCLAVE LAW (Atlasbooks.com 2011) at 9, 213; Stephen E. Castlen and Gregory O. Block, Exclusive Federal Legislative Jurisdiction: Get Rid of It!, 154 MIL. L. REV. 113 (1997); David E. Engdahl, State and Federal Power over Federal Property, 18 ARIZ. L. REV. 283, 336, n.228 (1976) ("No extensive patchwork of nationalized acreages created here and there out of the territory of the states, even with state consent, could have been intended.").
  6. ^ Howard v. Commissioners, 344 U.S. 624, 626, 73 S.Ct. 465, 97 L.Ed. 617 (1953).
  7. ^ a b Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419, 422, 90 S.Ct. 1752, 26 L.Ed.2d 370 (1970).
  8. ^ UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 (Enclave Clause).
  9. ^ Section 355 of the Revised Statutes of the United States.
  11. ^ Fort Leavenworth R. Co. v. Lowe, 114 U.S. 525, 531, 5 S.Ct. 995, 29 L.Ed. 264 (1885).
  12. ^ The current Assimilative Crimes Act is at 18 U.S.C. § 13.
  13. ^ Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. v. McGlinn, 114 U.S. 542, 546, 5 S.Ct. 1005, 29 L.Ed. 270 (1885).
  14. ^ Armstrong, Marcia H. "Jus Gentium: The Law Regarding "Conquered Territory"". Understanding American property rights - "Online" Studies. Family Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  15. ^ 1957 REPORT, supra note 6 at 238-39.
  16. ^ Arledge v. Mabry, 52 N.M. 303, 197 P.2d 884 (1948).
  17. ^ Schwartz v. O'Hara Township School Dist., 375 Pa. 440, 100 A.2d 621 (1953).
  18. ^ Chaney v. Chaney, 53 N.M. 66, 201 P.2d 782 (1949).
  19. ^ Bowen v. Johnston, 306 U.S. 19, 59 S.Ct. 442, 83 L.Ed. 455 (1939).
  20. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 457, enacted in 1928.
  21. ^ 4 U.S.C. § 104, enacted in 1936 and known as the "Lea Act."
  22. ^ a b 4 U.S.C. § 105-108, enacted in 1940 and known as the "Buck Act."
  23. ^ 40 U.S.C. § 290, enacted in 1936.
  24. ^ 26 U.S.C. § 3305(d), enacted in 1939.
  25. ^ James v. Dravo Contracting Co., 302 U.S. 134, 148, 58 S.Ct. 208, 82 L.Ed. 155 (1937).
  26. ^ 1957 REPORT, supra note 6 at 11.
  27. ^ The February 1, 1940 law was codified in three titles of the United States Code as 33 U.S.C. § 733, 40 U.S.C. § 255 and 50 U.S.C. § 175. In 2002, the jurisdictional part of the statute was amended and re¬codified as 40 U.S.C. § 3112.
  28. ^ See, e.g., General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Tracy, 83 Ohio St.3d 500, 700 N.E.2d 1242, 1244-45 (Ohio S.Ct. 1998) (ruling that even though the 1943 and 1945 letters from the Secretary of War did not identify specific properties, they were sufficient to accept jurisdiction).
  29. ^ 1957 REPORT, supra note 6 at 7-8.
  30. ^ Arapajolu v. McMenamin, 113 Cal. App. 2d 284, 249 P.2d 318 (1952).
  31. ^ Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419, 90 S.Ct. 1752, 26 L.Ed.2d 370 (1970).
  32. ^ 20 U.S.C. §§ 236 et seq.
  33. ^ 1956 REPORT, supra note 2 at 55.
  34. ^ Craig v. Craig, 143 Kan. 624, 56 P. 464 (1936); Darbie v. Darbie, 195 Ga. 769, 25 S.E.2d 685 (1943); Crownover v. Crownover, 58 N.M. 597, 274 P.2d 127 (1954).
  35. ^ Haines, supra Note 3 at 42.
  36. ^ Howard v. Commissioners, 344 U.S. 624, 73 S.Ct. 465, 97 L.Ed. 617 (1953).
  37. ^ Id., 344 U.S. at 626.
  38. ^ Offutt Housing Co. v. Sarpy County, 351 U.S. 253, 260-261, 76 S.Ct. 814, 100 L.Ed. 1151 (1956).
  39. ^ 1956 REPORT, supra note 3 at 70; 1957 REPORT, supra note 6 at viii.
  40. ^ 1969 REPORT, supra note 2 at 52.
  41. ^ Evans, 398 U.S. at 424, quoting Offutt Housing Co. v. Sarpy County, 351 U.S. 253, 260-261, 76 S.Ct. 814, 100 L.Ed. 1151 (1956).
  42. ^ Evans, 398 U.S. at 425.
  43. ^ 8 U.S.C. § 1358.
  44. ^ 29 U.S.C. § 1705(d) (originally codified at 29 U.S.C. § 937(d)).
  45. ^ See Philadelphia v. Konopacki, 2 Pa. D. & C.3d 535, 538, 1975 WL 97 (Pa. Com. Pl.) (1975) (holding that Philadelphia could enforce a $300 fine for non-payment of City tax from a resident of a federal enclave, regardless of whether the fine was characterized as "criminal or quasi-criminal").
  46. ^ See Haines, supra Note 3 at 9, 102-103, 213.
  47. ^ Id. at 9, 107, 213.
  48. ^ Evans, 398 U.S. at 424.
  49. ^ 1957 REPORT, supra note 16 at 235, n.57.
  50. ^ Board v. Donoho, 344 Colo. 321, 356 P.2d 267 (1960).
  51. ^ Board v. McCorkle, 98 N.J. Super. 451, 237 A.2d 640 (1968).
  52. ^ Matter of Charles B, 196 Misc.2d 374, 765 N.Y.S.2d 191 (2003).
  53. ^ State v. Debbie F., 120 N.M. 665, 905 P.2d 205 (1995).
  54. ^ Cobb v. Cobb, 406 Mass. 21, 545 N.E. 2d 1161 (1989).
  55. ^ a b United States v. State Tax Comm. of Mississippi, 412 U.S. 363, 378, 93 S.Ct. 2183, 2192, 37 L.Ed.2d 1 (1973).
  56. ^ Humble Pipe Line Co. v. Waggonner, 376 U.S. 369, 84 S.Ct. 857, 11 L.Ed.2d 782 (1964).
  57. ^ Black Hills Power and Light Co. v. Weinberger, 808 F.2d 665 (8th Cir. 1987).
  58. ^ Hooda v. Brookhaven Nat. Laboratory, 659 F.Supp.2d 382 (E.D. N.Y. 2009).
  59. ^ Osburn v. Morrison Knudsen Corp., 962 F. Supp. 1206 (E.D. Mo. 1997) (age discrimination); Miller v. Wackenhut Services., 808 F.Supp. 697, 700 (W.D.Mo. 1992) (anti-discrimination laws).
  60. ^ Taylor v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 78 Cal.App.4th 472, 482, 92 Cal.Rptr.2d 873 (2000).
  61. ^ Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp., 497 F.Supp.2d 1138 (S.D. Cal. 2007) (Stiefel I).
  62. ^ Department of Labor and Industry v. Dirt & Aggregate, Inc., 120 Wash.2d 49, 837 P.2d 1018 (Wash. S.Ct. 1992). See also Stiefel v. Bechtel Corp., 497 F.Supp.2d 1153, 1158 (S.D. Cal. 2007) (Stiefel II). But see Taylor v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 78 Cal.App.4th 472, 485-486, 92 Cal.Rptr.2d 873 (2000) (ruling that U.S. Secretary of Labor's approval of the Cal/OSHA plan "is the equivalent of congressional action," permitting a plaintiff to assert a claim for relief under Cal/OSHA against a federal enclave contractor).
  63. ^ Manning v. Gold Belt Falcon, LLC, 681 F.Supp.2d 574 (D. N.J. 2010).
  64. ^ Lord v. Local Union No. 2088, Intern. Broth. of Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO, 646 F.2d 1057 (5th Cir. 1981). But see Professional Helicopter Pilots Ass'n. v. Lear Siegler Services, Inc., 326 F.Supp.2d 1305, 1312 n.6 (M.D. AL. 2004) citing Howard v. Commissioners, 344 U.S. 624, 626, 73 S.Ct. 465, 97 L.Ed. 617 (1953).
  65. ^ See discussion in Haines, supra note 3 at 104-106.
  66. ^ North Dakota v. United States, 495 U.S. 423, 110 S.Ct. 1986, 109 L.Ed.2d 420 (1990).
  67. ^ Aviall Services, Inc. v. Tarrant Appraisal Dist., 300 S.W.3d 441, 449 (Tex.App. 2009).
  68. ^ Aviall Services, 300 S.W.3d at 449.
  69. ^ In re Terry Y., 101 Cal.App.3d 178, 161 Cal.Rptr. 452, 453 (1980).
  70. ^ See, e.g., 1957 REPORT, supra Note 6, at 114.
  71. ^ United States v. Raffield, 82 F.3d 611 (4th Cir. 1996)(North Carolina); United States v. Gabrion, 517 F.3d 839 (6th Cir. 2008) (Michigan); United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923 (10th Cir. 2008) (Oklahoma).
  72. ^ See discussion, with particular reference to California and Missouri statutes in Haines, supra Note 3, at 134-154.


Battle of Helena

The Battle of Helena (also known as the Attack on Helena) was a land battle of the American Civil War fought on July 4, 1863, at Helena, Arkansas. The battle was a Confederate attempt to relieve pressure on the besieged city of Vicksburg. The victory secured eastern Arkansas for the United States.

Civil township

A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States that is subordinate to a county. The term town is used in New England, New York, and Wisconsin to refer to the equivalent of the civil township in these states. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. Civil townships are distinct from survey townships, but in states that have both, the boundaries often coincide and may completely geographically subdivide a county. The U.S. Census Bureau classifies civil townships as minor civil divisions. Currently, there are 20 states with civil townships.

Township functions are generally overseen by a governing board (the name varies from state to state) and a clerk or trustee. Township officers frequently include justice of the peace, road commissioner, assessor, constable, and surveyor. In the 20th century, many townships also added a township administrator or supervisor to the officers as an executive for the board. In some cases, townships run local libraries, senior citizen services, youth services, disabled citizen services, emergency assistance, and even cemetery services. In some states, a township and a municipality that is coterminous with that township may wholly or partially consolidate their operations.

Commonwealth (U.S. state)

"Commonwealth" is a designation used by four of the 50 states of the United States in their full official state names: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. "Commonwealth" is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Prior to the formation of the United States of America in 1776, all four were part of Great Britain's possessions along the Atlantic coast of North America. As such, they share a strong influence of English common law in some of their laws and institutions.

Coterminous municipality

A coterminous municipality, sometimes also known as a coterminous city or a coterminous town-village, is a form of local government in some U.S. states in which a municipality and one or more civil townships are coterminous and have partial or complete consolidation of their government functions. A term used for the formation of such a local government is "township and municipal consolidation."

District of Columbia v. Heller

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), is a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected with service in a militia, for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and that the District of Columbia's handgun ban and requirement that lawfully-owned rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock" violated this guarantee. It also stated that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated. It was the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.Because of the District of Columbia’s status as a federal enclave (it is not in any state), the decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment's protections are incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against the states, which was addressed two years later by McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) in which it was found that they are.

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed by a vote of 5 to 4 the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Heller v. District of Columbia. The Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are "arms" for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the Regulations Act was an unconstitutional ban, and struck down the portion of the Regulations Act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock". Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, and the primary dissenting opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, are considered examples of the application of originalism in practice.

Federal jurisdiction (United States)

Federal jurisdiction refers to the legal scope of the government's powers in the United States of America. See the 1962 Federal Report titled "JURISDICTION OVER FEDERAL AREAS WITHIN THE STATES".

The United States is a federal republic, governed by the U.S. Constitution, containing fifty states and a federal district which elect the President and Vice President, and having other territories and possessions in its national jurisdiction. This government is variously known as the Union, the United States, or the federal government.

Under the Constitution and various treaties, the legal jurisdiction of the United States includes territories and territorial waters.

Honey Hill-Boyd's Neck Battlefield

Honey Hill-Boyd's Neck Battlefield is a historic battlefield site located near Ridgeland, Jasper County, South Carolina. The boundary encompasses the site of the American Civil War Battle of Honey Hill, November 30, 1864, as well as the Federal enclave on Boyd's Neck and other related areas of the Honey Hill campaign, November 29, 1864 to January 11, 1865. The Battle of Honey Hill was one of the three largest Civil War battles fought in South Carolina, and was one of the most notable Civil War engagements involving African American troops. The site includes the largely intact 1864 road network and extensive Civil War earthworks.It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Independent city (United States)

In the United States, an independent city is a city that is not in the territory of any county or counties with exceptions noted below. Of the 41 independent U.S. cities, 38 are in Virginia, whose state constitution makes them a special case. The three independent cities outside Virginia are Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; and Carson City, Nevada. The U.S. Census Bureau uses counties as its base unit for presentation of statistical information, and treats independent cities as county equivalents for those purposes. The most populous of them is Baltimore, Maryland.

Insular area

An insular area of the United States is a U.S. territory that is neither a part of one of the 50 states nor of a Federal district. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to United States Congress the responsibility of overseeing these territories, of which there are currently 14—three in the Caribbean Sea and 11 in the Pacific Ocean. These territories are classified by whether they are incorporated (by Congress extending the full body of the Constitution to the territory as it applies to the several states) and whether they have an organized territorial government established by the U.S. Congress through an Organic Act. All territories but one are unincorporated, and all but four are considered to be unorganized. Five U.S. territories have a permanent, nonmilitary population. Each of them has a civilian government, a constitution, and enjoys some degree of local political autonomy.

Mulkeytown, Illinois

Mulkeytown is an unincorporated and census-designated place in Franklin County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 175.

New Brunswick Laboratory

The New Brunswick Laboratory (NBL), was a United States government-owned and operated, center of excellence in the measurement science of nuclear materials. It was established in 1949 by the Atomic Energy Commission and was located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was relocated between 1975 and 1977 and was located, as a Federal enclave, on the site of Argonne National Laboratory, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Chicago, Illinois. NBL was part the Department of Energy's Office of Science Chicago Office.NBL was the U.S. Government's Nuclear Materials Measurements and Reference Materials Laboratory and the National Certifying Authority for nuclear reference materials and measurement calibration standards. As an internationally recognized Federal laboratory, NBL provided reference materials, measurement and interlaboratory measurement evaluation services, and technical expertise for evaluating measurement methods and safeguards measures in use at other facilities for a variety of Federal program sponsors and customers. NBL functioned as a Network Laboratory for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Off-reservation trust land

Off-reservation trust land refers to real estate outside an Indian reservation that is held by the Interior Department for the benefit of a Native American tribe or a member of a tribe. Typical uses of off-reservation trust land include housing, agriculture or forestry, and community services such as health care and education. The US Census has provided data for trust lands since the 1980 Census.

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, tribes can purchase off-reservation land and have it placed in trust in order to operate casinos on the land. For example, in

2015 the Spokane tribe won Bureau of Indian Affairs approval for an off-reservation casino. In 2008, the BIA issued guidance that such lands would need to be a "reasonable commute" from the reservation.

Point Blunt Light

Point Blunt Light is a lighthouse on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, California.

Public land

In all modern states, a portion of land is held by central or local governments. This is called public land. The system of tenure of public land, and the terminology used, varies between countries. The following examples illustrate some of the range.


In the Southwestern United States, the term Pueblo refers to communities of Native Americans, both in the present and in ancient times. The first Spanish explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe the communities housed in apartment structures built of stone, adobe mud, and other local material. These structures were usually multi-storied buildings surrounding an open plaza. The rooms were accessible only through ladders lowered by the inhabitants, thus protecting them from break-ins and unwanted guests. Larger pueblos were occupied by hundreds to thousands of Pueblo people. Various federally recognized tribes have traditionally resided in pueblos of such design.

Township (United States)

A township in the United States is a small geographic area.The term is used in three ways.

A survey township is simply a geographic reference used to define property location for deeds and grants as surveyed and platted by the General Land Office (GLO). A survey township is nominally six by six miles square, or 23,040 acres.

A civil township is a unit of local government, generally a civil division of a county. Counties are the primary divisional entities created by U.S. states, thus townships vary from state to state in their powers and organizations. Civil townships are generally given a name, sometimes abbreviated "Twp".

A charter township is similar to a civil township, found only in the state of Michigan. Provided certain conditions are met, a charter township is mostly exempt from annexation to contiguous cities or villages, and carries additional rights and responsibilities of home rule.

U.S. state

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders (e.g., paroled convicts and children of divorced spouses who are sharing custody). Four states (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local governmental authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies widely by state, and states may also create other local governments. State governments are allocated power by the people (of each respective state) through their individual constitutions. All are grounded in republican principles, and each provides for a government, consisting of three branches, each with separate and independent powers: executive, legislative, and judicial.States possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution. States and their residents are represented in the United States Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state is also entitled to select a number of electors (equal to the total number of representatives and senators from that state) to vote in the Electoral College, the body that directly elects the President of the United States. Additionally, each state has the opportunity to ratify constitutional amendments, and, with the consent of Congress, two or more states may enter into interstate compacts with one another.

Historically, the tasks of local law enforcement, public education, public health, regulating intrastate commerce, and local transportation and infrastructure have generally been considered primarily state responsibilities, although all of these now have significant federal funding and regulation as well. Over time, the Constitution has been amended, and the interpretation and application of its provisions have changed. The general tendency has been toward centralization and incorporation, with the federal government playing a much larger role than it once did. There is a continuing debate over states' rights, which concerns the extent and nature of the states' powers and sovereignty in relation to the federal government and the rights of individuals.

The Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to 50. Alaska and Hawaii are the most recent states admitted, both in 1959. The Constitution is silent on the question of whether states have the power to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Shortly after the Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Texas v. White, held that a state cannot unilaterally do so.

United States v. Antelope

United States v. Antelope, 430 U.S. 641 (1977), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that American Indians convicted on reservation land were not deprived of the equal protection of the laws; (a) the federal criminal statutes are not based on impermissible racial classifications but on political membership in an Indian tribe or nation; and (b) the challenged statutes do not violate equal protection. Indians or non-Indians can be charged with first-degree murder committed in a federal enclave.

Ward (United States)

In the United States, a ward is an optional division of a city or town for administrative and representative purposes, especially for purposes of an election. Depending upon the state and local laws, the term ward can mean any of:

an electoral district of a city council or town board, created for the purpose of providing more direct representation, from which a single councilman is elected; or

a division used in political party leadership elections; or

an administrative division, as in the wards of Newark, New Jersey or the six wards of Houston.

United States articles
Federal district
Insular areas
Outlying islands
Indian reservations

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