As established by the constitution, there are 3 branches in the United States government. The three branches are the legislative branch which makes the law, the judicial branch which interprets the law and the executive branch which executes the law. When congress created these branches, they also created a system. This system was called “checks and balances”. “Each branch has powers that it can use to check and balance the operations and power of the other two branches.” With this system, each of the three branches can limit the powers of the others. Congress created this system to help ensure that no branch became too powerful. Each branch has powers that can be used to “check and balance the operations and power of the other two branches.” For example, in the constitution in articles 1, 2 and 3, it states the powers of the branches and implies how those branches can check and balance the other 2. A good example of checks and balances would be the process of how laws are made.
First the legislature branch has the power to introduce and vote for the bill. Then the bill goes to the executive branch where the president can decide if the bill is good for the country. If he does think that the bill is good for the country, then he signs it and it becomes a law. If he doesn’t think the bill is good for the country then he veto’s it but the legislature branch can have another chance. “With enough votes, the legislative branch can override the executive branch’s veto, and the bill becomes a law.” Once when it becomes a law, the judicial branch is in charge. Then people of the country then test it through the court system. If someone thinks that the law is unfair, they can fill a law suit. Then lawyers make their arguments and the judge decides which side is more convincing. The side that did lose can appeal to higher court and can eventually reach the Supreme Court. “If the legislative branch does not agree with the way in which the judicial branch has interpreted the law, they can introduce a new piece of legislation, and the process starts all over again.” This in some cases can also be an example for how the president can check the power of congress.
According to the constitution, there are multiple ways that the legislative, the executive and the judicial branch can check and balance each other. One of the ways that the legislative branch can check and balance the executive branch is that the House of Representatives have the power to impeach and the senate has the responsibility of carrying out impeachment trials as stated in article 1. Another way that the legislative branch can check and balance the executive branch is that the senate has to approve of departmental appointments. In article 2, section 2, clause 2 in the constitution, it says “He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States. . .”
In this case, if the president wants to make an appointment he will have to have the advice and the consent of the senate and it has to pass through congress. Last but not least, the legislative branch has the power to declare war. For example, in article 1, section 8, clause 11 in the constitution, it states that congress shall have the power…. to declare war. Now one way that the legislative branch can check and balance the judicial branch is that the senate has to approve of federal judges and it also has the power to set jurisdiction of the courts. Not only does the legislative branch has checks on the judicial branch and the executive branch, but it also has a degree of self checking because bills must be passed by both houses of congress and “neither house may adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other house.”
In the executive branch, it can check the legislature branch because it has power to veto, have an emergency calling into session of one or both of the houses of congress, recess appointments and may force adjournment when both houses cannot agree on adjournment. Last but not least, the judicial branch’s checks. The judicial branch has the least checks of all three branches. When it comes for the judicial branch to check and balance the other branches the court can declare laws unconstitutional, and the court can also declare presidential acts unconstitutional. Checks and balances have played a very important role in the United States history too.
For example, when Marbury v. Madison created the doctrine of judicial review, which allowed courts to declare acts of the legislature unconstitutional, courts can now declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, even though that power is not given to them in the Constitution. Now, Congress must ensure that its acts conform to the Constitution. If checks and balances did not exist then one branch would be fighting with the other branch about power. now all three branches do not have too much power.
Courtney from Study Moose
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