The government of the United States is made up of three branches. The three branches are the legislative, the judicial, and the executive branch. Our founding fathers designed the three branches so that no single person or part of the government would possess too much power over the people. This balance of power is sometimes referred to as a system of checks and balances. In essence, each branch of government has to answer to another in some way. Each of the three branches has a purpose and a role in how the government is run. For example, one of the most important roles of the legislative branch is to make the laws. The executive branch enforces laws. The judicial branch, which includes the Supreme Court, interprets the laws. Of course, each of the branches of government has more than just one responsibility to the people. The following article contains more information about the duties and responsibilities of all three branches of government. Also, find some interesting facts on U.S. history as well as helpful lesson plans for middle school social studies or history teachers.
The Legislative Branch
Congress and various other agencies are included within this branch of the United States government. Furthermore, the House of Representatives and the Senate are the two entities that make up the Congress. Our Congress has the important responsibility of writing and discussing bills. They also vote on whether a bill should become law. Members of the Senate are able to give their approval regarding the appointment of a federal judge. In addition, the members of Congress, who are elected every two years, have the power to declare war. Congress also has the power to pass the national budget
The Judicial Branch
This branch of government consists of the country’s courts. The Supreme Court, the highest court in our nation, is part of the judicial branch of government. The Supreme Court is responsible for dealing with any laws that may prove to be a violation of the Constitution. The chief justice is one of the nine justices on the Supreme Court. The President of the United States is responsible for appointing justices to the Supreme Court. After the President has appointed the person, the Senate must approve him or her.
The Executive Branch
In our government, the executive branch enforces laws. The President of the United States belongs to the executive branch of the United States government. The President is in charge of commanding our armed forces. At times, the vice president and cabinet members assist the President with some of his or her duties. Some examples of members within the president’s cabinet include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Energy. Each secretary is responsible for duties within his or her particular department. Furthermore, a cabinet member may be able to offer advice to the President regarding issues within his or her department.
The Supreme Court
This is the highest court in the country. It belongs to the judicial branch of our government. The Supreme Court considers cases that relate to interpretation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has the power to overrule federal and state laws if it finds a conflict with what is in the Constitution. There are nine justices in the Supreme Court. Being a justice on the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. Of course, justices on the Supreme Court may retire or resign.