U.S. judicial system

Museum exhibit of ancient sculptures (© Joseph Eie/AFP/Getty Images)

Art smugglers, beware: New York’s sleuths are on your trail

Launching an aggressive campaign against the trafficking of cultural property, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has created a new law-enforcement squad dedicated to solving and stopping the theft of antiquities. Find out why this mission is so important.
Illustration of buildings with arrows leading to others of different sizes and people (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

Federal government: More than the White House and Congress

Learn more about the federal government in the United States. This article is part of a three-part series on how federalism works in America.
Illustration of a federal government canopy standing over the U.S. statehouses (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

State government: Where innovation often flows

America's 50 states are known as “laboratories of democracy” because they try policy ideas often adopted elsewhere. This is part of a series on federalism.
Illustration of elected official standing with local government service providers (State Dept./D. Thompson)

Local government: Mayors, police, school boards get the job done

Americans interact most with local governments, which provide services from public safety to school standards. This is part of a series on U.S. federalism.
Strips of newspaper with 'freedom of speech' typed on them (© Stepan Popov/Alamy Stock Photo)

3 cases that show what free speech means

These U.S. Supreme Court cases — about inciting crime, printing falsehoods and using obscenity — put Americans' belief in free speech to the test.
U.S. Constitution with Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence on an American flag with a quill pen (© Pamela Au/ Alamy Stock Photo)

Why protect offensive speech?

The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment includes the right to say unpopular things and "hate speech," and it gives that right to everybody.
Two men talking (© AP Images)

U.S. steps up campaign to combat criminal gangs

President Trump vows the U.S. will “dismantle, decimate and eradicate” violent criminal gangs, and Attorney General Sessions thanks El Salvador for help.
President Trump and Neil Gorsuch shaking hands (© AP Images)

Trump names Supreme Court nominee: Who is he and what happens...

President Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He's an experienced federal judge from Colorado. What happens next?
Illustration of a police officer standing under the scales of justice (State Dept./D. Thompson)

Here’s how police are held accountable in shooting incidents [video]

When a U.S. police officer is involved in a shooting, departments - often with civilian oversight - investigate to see if the officer should be prosecuted.