Branches of Government Paper
The Branches of Government Alicia Sanders University of Phoenix His 301 The Branches of Government Ever wonder how our government works? The government was divided into three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. What were the reasons our forefathers divided the government into these branches? Each branch works together as a whole by a system of checks and balances in order for the government to be run properly and no one branch ends up having the power. How are the three branches of U. S. Government supposed to interact? Are the branches balanced in power? Why or why not?
This paper will discuss these reasons. The three branches of government Legislative The legislative branch established by Article 1 of the constitution, consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powersThe House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members, divided among the 50 states in proportion to their total population.
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In addition, six members are non-voting, representing the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five territories of the United States (¶2). The Senate is composed of 100 Senators, two for each state. Until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, Senators were chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote. Since then, they have been elected to six-year terms by the people of each state (¶5). In order to pass legislation and send it to the President for his signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote.
If the President vetoes a bill, they may override his veto by passing the bill again in each chamber with at least two-thirds of each body voting in favor (¶8). Executive The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet
Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress. The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment (¶5, ¶6).
The Vice President also falls under this category, his primary responsibility is to be ready at a moment’s notice to assume the Presidency if the President is unable to perform his duties. This can be because of the President’s death, resignation, or temporary incapacitation, or if the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet judge that the President is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency (¶11). The Cabinet consists of 15 executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President’s Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government.
Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the members of the Cabinet are often the President’s closest confidants. In addition to running major federal agencies, they play an important role in the Presidential line of succession — after the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and Senate President pro tempore, the line of succession continues with the Cabinet offices in the order in which the departments were created. All the members of the Cabinet take the title Secretary, excepting the head of the Justice Department, who is styled Attorney General (¶5, ¶21). Judicial
Where the Executive and Legislative branches are elected by the people, members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In Article III of the Constitution, which establishes the Judicial Branch, leaves Congress significant discretion to determine the shape and structure of the federal judiciary. Even the number of Supreme Court Justices is left to Congress (OUR GOVERNMENT • THE JUDICIAL BRANCH, ¶1, ¶2). Federal courts enjoy the sole power to interpret the law, determine the constitutionality of the law, and apply it to individual cases.
The courts, like Congress, can compel the production of evidence and testimony through the use of a subpoena. The inferior courts are constrained by the decisions of the Supreme Court — once the Supreme Court interprets a law, inferior courts must apply the Supreme Court’s interpretation to the facts of a particular case (¶6). Article III of the Constitution of the United States guarantees that every person accused of wrongdoing has the right to a fair trial before a competent judge and a jury of one’s peers.
The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution provide additional protections for those accused of a crime. These include: •A guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law •Protection against being tried for the same crime twice (“double jeopardy”) •The right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury •The right to cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses to support their case •The right to legal representation •The right to avoid self-incrimination Protection from excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments (OUR GOVERNMENT • THE JUDICIAL BRANCH, ¶13, ¶14) As listed above in explaining the three branches of government, they all exist and were formed by our forefathers in order to work together and no one branch has the sole power. In doing so a system of checks and balances was formed for all three branches to work together. The following explanation of checks and balances will help get an understanding of the system and will show that the branches are balanced in power and are needed in order for the government to function.
What are Checks and Balances? Explanation of Checks and Balances Checks and Balances were formed by the government which is also known as separation of powers. The purpose of Checks and Balances is to distribute power, and make sure that the government does not become autocratic. This system was devised so that one branch would not have the ultimate power over the other and each branch performs most effectively when in the best interest of the nation. Each branch influences the other and this allows the separation of powers to protect the democratic process.
The Checks and balances system distributes power. Many other governments have followed suit of the United States and incorporated a system of Checks and Balances into their government in order to maintain the integrity of their leaders (Smith, ¶1, 2, 6). Examples of Checks and Balances within the three branches of government The following examples according to Kelly’s article “Checks and Balances,” will show that each branch has powers that it can use to check and balance the operations and power of the other two branches. This will show that each branch is balanced in power.
Checks and Balances of the Legislative Branch The Legislative Branch is given the powers to make the laws. It has the following checks over the Executive Branch: •May override presidential vetoes with a two-thirds vote •Has the power over the purse strings to actually fund any executive actions •May remove the president through impeachment •Senate approves treaties •Senate approves presidential appointments The Legislative Branch has the following checks over the Judicial Branch: •Creates lower courts •May remove judges through impeachment Senate approves appointments of judges Checks and Balances of the Executive Branch The Executive Branch is given the power to carry out the laws. It has the following checks over the Legislative Branch: •Veto power •Ability to call special sessions of Congress •Can recommend legislation •Can appeal to the people concerning legislation and more The Executive Branch has the following checks over the Judicial Branch: •President appoints Supreme Court and other federal judges Checks and Balances of the Judicial Branch The Judicial Branch is given the power to interpret the laws.
It has the following checks over the Executive Branch: •Judges, once appointed for life, are free from controls from the executive branch •Courts can judge executive actions to be unconstitutional through the power of judicial review The Judicial Branch has the following checks over the Legislative Branch: •Courts can judge legislative acts to be unconstitutional. The American system of checks and balances has worked well over the course of America’s history. Even though some huge clashes have occurred when vetoes have been overridden or appointees have been rejected, these occasions are rare.
The system was meant to keep the three branches in balance. Even though there have been times when one branch has risen preeminent, overall the three branches have achieved a workable balance with no one branch holding all the governmental power (Kelly, 2009, ¶8). As this paper has discussed the different branches of our government, how the branches interact with one another, what checks and balances are and how they work to form the government, the forefathers were on the right track in forming the three branches of the government.