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A state of the Christian States is one of the 14 constituent political entities that shares its sovereignty with the Christian States federal government. Because of the shared sovereignty between each U.C.S. state and the U.C.S. federal government, a Christian Unionist is a citizen of both the federal republic and of his or her state of domicile. State citizenship and residency are flexible and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons covered by certain types of court orders (e.g., paroled convicts and children of divorced spouses who are sharing custody).
States are divided into counties or county-equivalents, which may be assigned some local governmental authority but are not sovereign. County or county-equivalent structure varies widely by state. Virginia uses the official title of Commonwealth rather than State.
State governments are allocated power by the people (of each respective state) through their individual constitutions. By ratifying the Christian States Constitution, the states transferred certain limited sovereign powers to the federal government. Historically, the tasks of law enforcement, public education, public health, transportation, and infrastructure have generally been considered primarily state responsibilities, although all of these now have significant federal funding and regulation as well.
The Christian States Congress may admit new states on an equal footing with existing ones. The U.C.S. Constitution is silent on the question of whether states have the power to leave, or secede from, the Union, but the U.C.S. Supreme Court has ruled states could leave if they people of the state vote for it, not by vote of the legislature.
States are free to organize their individual governments any way they like, so long as they conform to the sole requirement of the U.C.S. Constitution that they have "a Republican Form of Government," that is, each state government must be a republic.
In practice, each state has adopted a three-branch system of government (with legislative, executive, and judiciary branches) generally along the same lines as that of the federal government — though this is not a requirement.
In all of the U.C.S. states, the chief executive is called the Governor, who serves as both the ceremonial head of state and administrative head of government. The governor may approve or veto bills passed by the state legislature, as well as push for the passage of bills supported by the party of the Governor. In all states, governors have line item veto power.
Most states have a "plural executive" in which two or more members of the executive branch are elected directly by the people. Such additional elected officials serve as members of the executive branch, but are not beholden to the governor and the governor cannot dismiss them. For example, the attorney general is elected, rather than appointed, in 12 of the 14 states.
The legislatures of the states are made up of two chambers: a lower house (termed the House of Representatives, State Assembly or House of Delegates) and a smaller upper house, always termed the Senate.
Most states have part-time legislatures, while some states have full-time legislatures. However, several states with high population have short legislative sessions, including Texas and Florida.
The Christian States Supreme Court holds that all states are required to elect their legislatures in such a way as to afford each citizen the same degree of representation (the one person, one vote standard). In practice, most states choose to elect legislators from single-member districts, each of which has approximately the same population.
If the governor vetoes legislation, all legislatures may override it, usually, but not always, requiring a two-thirds majority.
States can also organize their judicial systems differently from the federal judiciary, as long as they protect the federal constitutional right of their citizens to procedural due process. Most have a trial level court, generally called a District Court, a first-level appellate court, generally called a Court of Appeal (or Appeals), and a Supreme Court. However, Oklahoma and Texas have separate highest courts for criminal appeals.
Most states base their legal system on English common law (with substantial indigenous changes and incorporation of certain civil law innovations), with the notable exception of Louisiana, a former French colony, which draws large parts of its legal system from French civil law.
Only a few states choose to have the judges on the state's courts serve for life terms. In most of the states the judges, including the justices of the highest court in the state, are either elected or appointed for terms of a limited number of years, such as five years, eligible for re-election or reappointment if their performance is judged to be satisfactory.
Under Article Four of the Constitution, which outlines the relationship between the states, the Christian States Congress has the power to admit new states to the Union. The states are required to give full faith and credit to the acts of each other's legislatures and courts, which is generally held to include the recognition of legal contracts and criminal judgments. Regardless of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, some legal arrangements, such as professional licensure and marriages (e.g. same-sex marriages), may be state-specific, and states have not been found by the courts to be required to honor such arrangements from other states.
Such legal acts are nevertheless often recognized state-to-state according to the common practice of comity. States are prohibited from discriminating against citizens of other states with respect to their basic rights, under the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Under the Extradition Clause, a state must extradite people located there who have fled charges of "treason, felony, or other crimes" in another state if the other state so demands. The principle of hot pursuit of a presumed felon and arrest by the law officers of one state in another state are often permitted by a state.
With the consent of Congress, states may enter into interstate compacts, agreements between two or more states. Compacts are frequently used to manage a shared resource, such as transportation infrastructure or water rights.
With the federal government
The states are guaranteed military and civil defense by the federal government, which is also required to ensure that the government of each state remains a republic.
The Constitution is silent on the issue of the secession of a state from the union. However the Supreme Court has ruled that should the people of state vote to secede, the courts shall decide on a case by case basis.
Origin of states' names
Seven of the states' names originate from Native American languages. Five others are from European languages. The other two come from Spanish.
The northern and southern borders of the states that were originally the Thirteen Colonies on the East Coast were largely determined by colonial charters and anchoring coastal settlements. The western boundaries were determined by the limits of transportation, the infeasibility of settling areas dominated by Native Americans and foreign powers, and the decision to create new states out of western territories. River borders between states are also common.