Saylor.org's Comparative Politics/Checks and Balances between Branches of Government

Checks and BalancesEdit

In order to prevent any branch of government from becoming too powerful, the Framers of the Constitution in the United States created a system of checks and balances. Each branch of government has checks on the others, while it is itself also checked. The complex system can be outlined as follows:

Checks of the Legislative

Checks on the Executive

  • Power to override vetoes
  • Power to confirm the President's appointment of a Vice President when a vacancy in the Vice Presidency occurs
  • Power to tax and allocate tax revenues for executive activities
  • Oversight and investigation of executive activities
  • (Senate) Power to approve treaties
  • (Senate) Power to approve Presidential nominees
  • (House) Impeachment, or accusation of a federal official for bribery, treason, or another high crime
  • (Senate) Trial of Impeachment

Checks on the Judicial

  • Power to set size and structure of courts
  • (Senate) Power to approve Presidential nominees for judgeships
  • (House) Impeachment
  • (Senate) Trial of Impeachment

Internal Checks

  • Approval of both houses required for passage of a law

Checks of the Executive

Checks on the Legislative

  • Power to veto
  • Power to pocket veto
  • Power to call a special session of Congress when Congress is not already meeting
  • Vice President presides over Senate meetings as President of the Senate
  • Congress cannot reduce the salary of the President while he continues in office

Checks on the Judicial

  • Power to nominate judges
  • Power to fully or partially pardon convicted criminals

Checks of the Judicial

Checks on the Legislative

  • Power to declare bills unconstitutional
  • Congress cannot reduce the salary of a judge while he continues in office
  • The Chief Justice presides over an Impeachment Trial of a President

Checks on the Executive

  • Power to declare executive acts unconstitutional

Contents Colonial America - Articles of Confederation - The Constitutional Convention - Ratification - The Three Branches - The Federal System - General Provisions - The Bill of Rights - The Later Amendments - Legislative Branch - Executive Branch - Judicial Branch
Last modified on 2 August 2012, at 19:13