California residents are subject to California state and U.S. federal laws. Federal laws apply in California 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 California also has its own state laws. California state laws include the California Constitution, laws passed by the California legislature and periodically codified in the California Code, and decisions by courts that interpret California laws.
The current California Constitution dates from 1879. Some of its distinctive features include a provision establishing English as the official language of California and a provision that strongly supports term limits for legislators. Article XVIII provides the processes for amending the California Constitution. Under Section 1, two-thirds of the members of each chamber of the legislature can propose an amendment or revision to be placed on a ballot. Section 2 covers constitutional conventions, which will be proposed on a ballot if two-thirds of each chamber vote in favor. Finally, Section 3 provides the process for amendments based on ballot initiatives, which are further described in Article II.
The California Code contains the laws passed by the California legislature. These laws and the provisions of the California Constitution are often interpreted by the California Supreme Court and the six California Courts of Appeal. Four federal district courts in California also issue decisions that may affect California residents. These are the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern District Courts of California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holds the authority to review decisions by federal district courts in California. Sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court may review a case that has been appealed from the Ninth Circuit or from the California Supreme Court.