Checks and Balances

Separation of Powers
Dividing the Federal Government
● The founding fathers thought that the only way to keep the federal government from
gaining too much power was to split it up.
○ Legislative-Main job it to make Laws
○ Executive-Enforce the laws
○ Judicial- Interprets the laws
What are Checks and Balances?
Checks and Balances were built into the constitution to ensure that no one branch of
government ever became too powerful.
● It gives each branch of government some power over the others.
Separation of Powers (Interlaced with Checks and Balances)
The goal of separation of powers:
● To prevent a majority fro gaining absolute rule
● That is why the 3 branches were created
● As a result, each branch has “checks and balances” on the authority of the other two
Federalism:The division of power
● Political system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
Government Powers (Division of powers)
Expressed: Spelled out in the Constitution
● Article 1 Section 18
● 18 clauses giving 27 powers
○ Tax
○ Coin money
○ Regulate trade
○ Declare war
Implied: Not written in constitution, but reasonably suggested
● Article 1, Section 18, Clause 18
● “Necessary and proper”
● The elastic clause
○ Build dams, highways, roads
○ Determine crime
Inherent:Not written in the constitution, but belonging to national governments
● Regulate immigration
● Grant diplomatic recognition to nations
● Protect the nation
Denied: Expressly Denied:
● Infringe on rights
● (speech, press, etc)
● Silence in constitution:
● Only has delegated powers
● Denied in Federal system:
● Cant tax states

Powers Granted:
Reserved Powers:
● Not granted to federal but not denied to states
● Legal marriage age
● Drinking age
● Professional licence
● Confiscate property
The power of the state to protect and promote public health, public morals, public safety and the
general welfare.
Denied States:
Constitution denies certain powers to state because they are not a federal government
● make treaties
● print money
● deny rights to citizens
Both states and national have these powers
may be exercised separately and simultaneously
● collect taxes
● define crimes
● condemn or take private property for public use
Denied Both:
Both states and National have been denied these powers
● violate the rights of citizens
The Supremacy Clause
United States
Acts of Congress
State Constitutions
State Statues (laws)
City and Country

When there is a conflicts between a lower one and higher one, the higher one wins
The US constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land”