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Checks and Balances


  Legislative Branch can be checked by: Executive branch can be checked by: Judicial branch can be checked by:
Legislative Branch can check:   NA Can overrule veto (2/3 vote) Controls appropriations Controls by statute Impeachment of president Senate approval of appointments and treaties Committee oversight Controls appropriations Can create inferior courts Can add new judges Senate approves appointments Impeachment of judges
Executive branch can check: Can veto legislation Can convene special session Can adjourn Congress when Chambers disagree Vice-president presides over Senate and votes to break ties NA President appoints judges
Judicial Branch can check: Judicial review of legislation Chief Justice presides over Senate during proceedings to impeach president Judicial review over presidential actions Power to issue warrants Chief Justice presides over impeachment of president NA


The national government's power is not limited by states' power. The only powers the states have are those the Federal government has not reserved for itself. But in a dispute the Federal government can and will use military force if necessary.

The structure of state government parallels that of the federal government. Each of the fifty states has a written constitution. Each also has a separation of powers among three branches, which share power through a system of checks and balances.

All the state legislatures, except Nebraska's, have the same format as Congress with two houses, usually called the state senate and state assembly. State legislatures also work through committees and pass laws through a process very like that used in Congress. Like the President, the chief executive of a state, the governor, enjoys the powers of administration, appointment and veto. The structure of a state judiciary is also broadly parallel to the federal court system. In most states there is a state supreme court and under it appeals courts and (parallel to the US district courts) county or municipal courts.


Task 1. Answer the following questions.

1. What document is the operation of the US government based on?

2. How are the powers of government distributed between the federal government and the state governments?

3. What are the three branches of the national government?

4. What is the system of "checks and balances"? How is it exercised?

5. In what way does the legislature exercise a check on the executive branch?

6. What limits the powers of the national and state governments?

7. What is known as the Bill of Rights?


Task 2. Revise your knowledge of the US system of checks and balances. Look at the following diagram and match the numbered items (1-9) with their correct interpretation (A-I).



Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1508

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