How Government Works

Everyone who has ever watched a crime show on TV has heard and probably memorized the Miranda warnings: “You have the right to remain silent.  If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford an attorney . . .”   Reading an accused his rights is now an ingrained part of law enforcement procedure and considered integral to protecting everyone’s Fifth Amendment rights, but it wasn’t always that way. History is loaded with examples of coerced confessions, dating back to the Spanish Inquisition and even earlier to the Roman Empire.  Today, we often take the protections afforded by our Bill of Rights for granted, including our Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and our Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Fake news is everywhere. We are all used to standing in the grocery check-out line and seeing the sensationalist newspapers on the rack next to us. The papers always have wild headlines like “Alien Baby Discovered Alive in Seattle,” or “Angelina Jolie weighs 60 pounds and is dying of starvation.” The grocery store tabloids have spent the past 5 years trying to kill off Cher and Angelina Jolie, and they have discovered “credible” photos of Bigfoot at least a dozen times. Everyone knows those stories are either fake or misleading. Yet, the same people who scoff at the grocery store tabloids are often willing to believe everything they read on the internet.

The Arizona State Legislature has a website that provides information to the public.  The website contains valuable information, including the names and districts of senate and house members, legislative calendars, the Arizona Constitution, Arizona Revised Statues, and a host of other information.  The website is moderately easy to navigate, but there are significant shortcomings.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a federal law says one thing and a state law says another? The answer to the question lies in Article 6, Paragraph 2, of the United States Constitution, which is commonly known as the “Supremacy Clause.” Under the Supremacy Clause, federal laws, which apply to the entire country, are supreme over state laws, which apply only to particular states (like Arizona).

We all use money every day. We earn U.S. dollars for our labor, deposit our money in banks, pay our bills, use credit cards, and spend cash to purchase items we want. Most of us walk around with cash in our pockets, but we don’t know very much about how the system works. What is money, and who decides how much our money is worth?

Did you know that American voters do not directly elect the President of the United States?

The people that voters in every American state actually vote for are called “electors” – and it is these electors (who promise in advance to support a particular party’s nominee for President) who formally choose who serves as President.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.