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Branches Of Government

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The constitution is he highest law in the United States. All other laws come from the constitution. When the constitution was written, it was designed not to allow one political group to have too much power. The three main branches of government were created to work together and to allow each to have a balance of power.

Branches of Government

The United States government is divided into three main branches, the Judicial, Presidential (executive), and the Legislative. These branches of government are designed to work together to create a balance of power. Each branch has it own specific duty in maintaining this balance. Each branch has the ability to supervise and regulate the other two. This system is known as the checks and balance system. However, over time the Judicial branch has went on its own and been left out of the loop. The Judicial Branch has opted out of the checks and balance system in order to be "self regulating". Although true equality is impossible, America is dedicated, in theory, to create a government where people are as equal as you can get under the circumstances. The Constitution is dedicated to the goal of equality.

Our forefathers contemplated a democracy where government was to serve the people, not rule them. In order to achieve this, government was to be divided up into three branches. The role of the Legislature is to make the law. The legislature is called the Congress, and is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each Representative comes from a district in one of the states. That person's job is to represent the people in that district. The people elect the Representative and have the right to tell him or her how they feel about issues. There are 435 Representatives. Bigger states have more Representatives and every state has at least one. The Senate is made up of 100 Senators, two from each state. Senators are elected by the people of the state and should represent the interests of all of the people. When the Congress wants to pass a law, both the House and the Senate must agree to the exact same law. If they cannot agree, then the law cannot pass( Mount 2007 ). The role of the Executive is, mainly to make sure the law is carried out. The Executive is headed by the President, and includes the Vice President and the Secretaries of all the national departments, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education. But before a law becomes a law, the President must agree to it. If he does not agree, he vetoes the law and sends it back to the Congress. If the President refuses to sign a law, it will eventually become a law without his signature. This is one example of the system of checks and balances in the United States government. The last branch is the Judiciary. This includes all the federal courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. States have their own court systems that fall underneath the national court system. The role of the Judiciary is to interpret the law. For example, "It is illegal to break into someone's home." If someone is caught breaking into someone's home, the courts will ask several questions. First, can the government make this illegal? If it cannot, the law is called "unconstitutional" and the courts will say it is invalid. Next, the court will ask if the person is actually guilty of the crime. Usually, a jury will find someone guilty or not guilty, but sometimes just a judge makes this finding. A trial by jury is a constitutional right - it means that other people from your community will decide if you broke the law. Because juries, and courts, can make mistakes, people can "appeal" convictions, and there is a set of special courts set up to handle appeals. The last court of appeal is the Supreme Court. Whatever the Supreme Court says is the end, because there is no appeals court higher ( Mount 2007). The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist.

The Constitution mandates a balance of power. “ The reason we have checks and balances system is to preclude the possibilty of a monarchy” ( Self-Regulation 2008). The checks and balances system works well for two out of the three branches of government. The Judicial branch seems to be left out. Although the Judicial branch oversees other branches of government, no one oversees them. The judiciary branch has taken the position that they are self-regulating and can police themselves. The Judicial branch of government is charged with the duties of maintaining justice. The court system is supposed to work for the people. That is how the Constitution defines the role of the justice system. The Constitution defines things the courts cannot do as well as things it must do. “The President, for example, can be impeached for high crimes and treason. However, it is not the judicial system that puts the President on trial. The President is put on trial in the United States Senate and not the Supreme Court. You might think this to be somewhat odd because, after all, the United States Supreme Court is the highest court” (Self-regulation 2008). The practice of self-regulation in the judicial branch breaks down the success of the checks and balance system. Although the Senate is a legislative body, it also has the power to perform judicial functions. Although rarely used, the Senate can conduct a trial in very specialized circumstances such as impeaching a president or a Supreme Court justice. No matter how rarely used this power is, it's the fact that this power is there that's important. In order to plug the hole in the checks and balances system we need external regulation of the courts. All other professions like doctors, psychologists, and engineers are regulated



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