The system of government in America was first tried in 1776 to demonstrate democracy and liberty. Over time the system adapted and became resilient to changes withstanding any adjustments (Block, 2004). The supreme law in America is its constitution; thus, it’s more of a federal constitutional republic than a democracy. In America, people elect representatives to exercise power on their behalf in both national and state governments, with the constitution as a guiding structure of the government and limiting their powers where appropriate. This paper discusses whether the American government has an effective “check and balance” system or not. By looking at each branch of the government’s power, and the check and balance that they have on each other, the author concludes that there is an effective check and balance system in America.
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Three Branches of Government in America
The American system of government has power resting in the hands of its citizens. People are involved in voting regularly to exercise their power by electing their leaders. They usually elect the president, congress members, and various officials in the state and local governments. Together with their team, the chosen leaders perform several tasks; they run the government’s day-to-day duties, create laws, and frame policies, among others (Three Branches of Government, 2021). They have a constitution that acts as the outline of the government system. The three government branches are well described in the constitution, how they are operated and related to each other. The three branches are the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch.
From the constitution, it is clear that each branch has some power over the other branch in a certain way. The constitution defines guides and limits each branch of government’s ability, including how they operate and relate to each other (Mr. Riggy Riggs, 2011). The constitution is unique in protecting the power and rights of the people. Not only is the federal government guided by the constitution but also the state governments. The states have their constitutions guiding their operations at their lower levels. Though, the federal government still has the power to influence the state governments.
The Legislative Branch
The legislative branch, also known as the U.S Congress, comprises two chambers; the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congress primarily functions in writing, debating, and passing bills to the president upon approval to become laws. A bill is written by a representative, a senator, or a private citizen and introduced to the Senate or House of Representatives. The bill is included in the Congressional Record, and it is assigned to a committee with a lot of control (Arnold, 2004). A hearing for the bill is conducted by the chosen subcommittee, and amendments are done, thus deciding whether the bill proceeds or dies at this level.
The senate is considered more purposeful compared to the House through the co-work in most duties. The senate has the power to reject any treaty discussed by the president internationally if they consider it unworthy. They must also review and approve presidential appointments such as Supreme Court appointments, cabinet secretaries, and executive positions within the executive branch (The Audio Constitution, 2011). If a government official commits any wrong thing, the senate can hold a trial for such a case. On the other hand, the House of Representatives can present charges of impeaching the Supreme chief justices and the president. They also originate tax bills and can select the president in case of no winning voter. The House of Representatives passes of a government official with a crime should be put to trial before the senate.
The Judicial Branch
This branch handles legal cases bypassing judgment by interpreting the acts of congress in federal law violations. It comprises a system of courts with the Supreme Court as the highest court. The Supreme Court was established by the constitution while other federal courts were by Congress. Examples of federal courts are the federal district court, the court of appeal, federal claims, and bankruptcy court. According to Morisey (2006), the judicial branch does not depend on the other two branches; however, it is subject to constitutional checks and balance definitions. This oversight ensures that the justice exercised is fair for all citizens.
The constitution regulates the judicial branch’s independence by ensuring the federal judges’ compensation cannot be decreased or increased by the congress’s president. This regulation avoids biases and unfairness in the federal judges’ work (Morisey, 2006). Also, the constitution states that federal judges’ appointment is for life, and they can only be impeached by a conviction of the congress on high-rated crimes like bribery or treason. The Senate approves the judges appointed by the president to serve for life. The courts make decisions when arguments arise on matters like the meaning of specific laws, and how they are applied, and break the constitution.
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The Executive Branch
The head of the executive branch is the president, eligible to serve for four terms and can be immediately replaced by the deputy in case of death, impeachment, or insanity. The executive is the largest branch of the three and co-shares power equally with the other two branches, with the president remaining the most powerful (Block, 2004). Due to the large state of the U.S, the president is assisted by the vice president and the departmental heads who act as his advisors. The president serves in meeting other leaders of different countries, negotiating international treaties, and enforcing federal laws. He serves as the commander in chief of the armed forces or military. Appoints the court judges that must be confirmed by the senate and vetoing the congress legislation passed. He can also exercise other powers not mentioned in the constitution or considered informal.
In conclusion, the U.S government indeed has an effective “check and balance” system. From the in-depth discussion above on each branch of government’s roles, it is clear how every branch’s operation is regulated and dependent on each other. The branches are linked to each other, limiting excess power execution and protecting the citizens’ rights. However, a few cases are seen where the check and balance system is slightly applied, such as the president having more power than the other two branches and the judiciary being independent of the other two branches. The judiciary branch is still regulated by the check and balance system of the constitution, and this puts it under control not to have more power than the other branches. The executive position may be reviewed for giving the president more power, but the presidential position requires such power as governing the U.S, which is a tremendous job. Some informal actions may be needed when the president may only apply with his advisories’ help.
Arnold, P. A. (2004). About America: How the United States is governed. Braddock Communications.
Block, F. (2004). Civil Liberties During national emergencies: The interactions between the three branches of government in coping with past and current threats to the nation’s security. New York University Review of Law & Social Change, 29, 459. Web.
Morisey, M. (2006). Competence and the Three Branches of Government. University of Dayton Law Review, 32, 321. Web.
Mr. Riggy Riggs. (2011). Schoolhouse rock – The preamble [Video]. YouTube. Web.
The Audio Constitution. (2011). Introduction to the United States Constitution. [Video]. YouTube.