Preemption Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Preemption, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Preemption?
In United States, Federal law is the supreme law with highest authority. When there is a conflict between the Federal law and state law, the Federal law is said to preempt – win over – state law thereby displacing the effect of the state law. Thats known as premption..
History and Meaning of Preemption
Preemption is a legal doctrine that establishes the supremacy of federal law over state law when there is a conflict between the two. This doctrine traces its roots back to the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to regulate commerce and a host of other areas. When Congress exercises that power, state laws that conflict with the federal law become preempted.
The idea behind preemption is that it promotes consistency and uniformity in the application of federal law throughout the country. Without it, each state could interpret federal laws differently, leading to confusion and inconsistency in their application.
Examples of Preemption
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) preempts state laws that conflict with federal regulations governing the use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The National Labor Relations Act preempts state laws that conflict with union organizing and collective bargaining rights.
- The Airline Deregulation Act preempts state laws that attempt to regulate air transportation prices, routes, and services.
Legal Terms Similar to Preemption
- Supremacy Clause: The constitutional provision that establishes the primacy of federal law over state law.
- Conflict Preemption: Occurs when the federal law directly conflicts with a state law, making it impossible to comply with both.
- Field Preemption: Occurs when the federal government occupies a particular area of regulation, leaving no room for the states to regulate in that area.