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Checks and Balances in the United States Government

Updated on February 24, 2014
The White House
The White House | Source

Let's discuss the concept of checks and balances, and how it is used in the United States inside the three branches of government.

Checks & Balances Balance Government Power

The concept of checks and balances in the United States are set in place to keep the three branches of government from overpowering one another. This way no one branch gains or has no more power than the other two.

Each Branch Has a Purpose

Each branch has its own purpose. The legislative branch makes the laws, the executive branch carries out the laws, and the judicial branch interprets those laws. This system keeps the three branches working together in equality.

The Capitol Building
The Capitol Building | Source

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch, in addition to making laws, can override presidential vetoes, control spending, and impeach the President. This branch also approves the appointment of all federal judges in the judicial branch.

Executive Branch

The executive branch can veto laws passed by the legislature, and appoints all federal judges in the judicial branch.

Judicial Branch

The third branch, the judicial, interprets the laws passed by the legislature. It can also declare those laws unconstitutional if need be.

U.S. Supreme Court Building
U.S. Supreme Court Building | Source

The Criminal Justice System

Each of the three branches of government work together in balance in order for the Criminal Justice System to enforce the laws through use of the police and courts.

Police are Under the Executive Branch

In the Criminal Justice System, the legislative branch makes the laws enforced by the police and courts, and the police are under the executive branch. The people brought under arrest by the police are then tried in cases through the judicial branch.

How is power divided in the United States government?


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