Police power
In United States constitutional law
United States constitutional law
United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution.- Introduction :United States constitutional law defines the scope and application of the terms of the Constitution...

, police power is the capacity of the states
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 to regulate
Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation on the one hand and judge-made law on the other...

 behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain...

, and safety
Safety is the state of being "safe" , the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm or any other event which could be...

 of their inhabitants. Under the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the powers prohibited from or not delegated to the Federal Government are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. This implies that the states do not possess all possible powers, since some of these are reserved to the people.

The exercise of police power can be in the form of making laws, compelling obedience
Obedience (human behavior)
In human behavior, obedience is the quality of being obedient, which describes the act of carrying-out commands or being actuated. Obedience differs from compliance, which is behavior influenced by peers, and from conformity, which is behavior intended to match that of the majority. Obedience can...

 to those laws through legal sanctions
Sanctions (law)
Sanctions are penalties or other means of enforcement used to provide incentives for obedience with the law, or with rules and regulations. Criminal sanctions can take the form of serious punishment, such as corporal or capital punishment, incarceration, or severe fines...

, physical means, or other forms of coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

 and inducements. Controversies over the exercise of police power, particularly the use of physical means, arise when its exercise by the federal government conflicts with the rights of the states or when its exercise by federal or state authorities conflicts with individual rights and freedoms.

Police powers are, from the point of view of state courts, also restricted by state constitutions. The concept of police power is used by federal courts which do not have jurisdiction to interpret state constitutions: from the point of view of federal constitutional law, states have general police powers except where restricted by the federal Constitution.

Because the Congress has limited powers granted in the Constitution, the Federal government does not have a general police power, as the states do. The exceptions are laws regarding Federal property and the military; the Federal government was also granted broad police powers by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 is a United States federal law that was designed to regulate the railroad industry, particularly its monopolistic practices. The Act required that railroad rates be "reasonable and just," but did not empower the government to fix specific rates...


See also

  • United States Constitution
    United States Constitution
    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

  • Eminent domain‎
  • Jacobson v. Massachusetts
    Jacobson v. Massachusetts
    In the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, , the Supreme Court of the United States on February 20, 1905, upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination laws...

  • Peace, order and good government
    Peace, order and good government
    In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the phrase "peace, order and good government" is an expression used in law to express the legitimate objects of legislative powers conferred by statute...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.