3 Branches of Our Government

FILL IN THE BLANKS IN THE SENTENCES BELOW 1. What are the 3 branches of our government?_______________, _____________, _______________. 2. The ______________ Branch of our government makes the laws. 3. The ______________ Branch of our government enforces our laws. 4. What are the two parts of our Congress? ____________ and _____________. 5. There are _____ senators. 6. The ______________ is elected by eligible United States citizens who vote and by the Electoral College system. 7. ___________ and _______________ are elected by voters in their states. 8. ________________ study laws to see if they are correct according to the Constitution. 9. Where do the major branches of our federal government meet and work? ____________________________________________________ 10. The_______________ is the leader of the Executive Branch of our government.

Congress - Courts Keeping the Balance

Congress and the Courts balance each other. Congress makes laws, but the Courts interpret them. The Supreme Court decides if a law fits the meaning of the Constitution. When you go to a baseball game there are several umpires on the field and behind home plate. These umpires did not make the rules for playing the game of baseball, but they are given the duty to decide what the rules mean in a special case. They are like judges. They interpret the rules as they see their original meaning. They are the last word. Judges in our court system are like these umpires. They interpret the rules. The court applies the rules of the Constitution to the nation's business. Congress can pass "necessary and proper laws." But what is necessary? What is proper? The Supreme Court may need to decide in special situations. Congress cannot interfere with the freedoms spelled out in the Bill of Rights. It can't punish a person for something that was not a crime when he did it. Any citizen can go to a court to protect his civil liberties. The citizen may even go to the Supreme Court to get a final verdict. Sometimes, the Constitution does not cover a law that the people want. The people can then vote directly by states to add a special section to the Constitution. This is called an amendment. Back in 1895, the Supreme Court would not let Congress put a tax of two cents a dollar on everyone's wages, (money people earned). So later, an income tax amendment was added to the Constitution. QUESTIONS: 1. Write in your own words how the Supreme Court checks Congress. 2. What happens when the people want a law that is not covered by the Constitution? 3. What amendment would you like to see added to the constitution? Support your opinion with concrete facts and reasoning.

Congress - President Keeping the Balance

Our government has three branches. This keeps any one part from having too much power. Sometimes people think a President is very powerful. But people must realize that Congress always keeps a watchful eye on a President's decisions. The President has special ways to check Congress and Congress has special ways to check the President. The President checks Congress when he vetoes a bill. Congress can check him if a 2/3 majority votes to override his veto. The President decides what money is needed for each government department. He prepares a budget and shows it to Congress. But Congress holds the purse strings and can vote "yes" or "no" on the money spent. If citizens are concerned about the money issues, they should write both the President and their congressmen. The President is checked in foreign policy (dealing with other countries) too. When a President makes a treaty (bargain) with another country, it doesn't really start until 2/3 of the Senate (67 members) approve it. If the President feels Congress is being too big of a problem so that he can't get things done, he can call a news conference or go on television and talk directly to the people. Truman (a Democrat) had problems with the 80th Congress (which had mainly Republican members). He rode all over the nation by train telling the people how little this Congress had done. The people listened and voted some new congressmen into office. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/1948campaign/large/docs/index.php Congress gives the President large amounts of power in time of emergency. They have no other choice. All the same, members of Congress don't like the President to "walk over" them. If these senators and representatives feel slighted, look out, Mr. President! Congress can cut off money, start an investigation, and be as stubborn as a donkey or as strong as an elephant--- like the party symbols show! Some Presidents get along with Congress better than others. These Presidents call in legislative leaders from Capitol Hill to talk about problems and new programs. But sometimes the President's party is divided, or the other party controls Congress. A struggle develops between Congress and the President. Sometimes this lasts a long time. Other times, both sides decide to compromise and work toward common goals. QUESTIONS: 1. How does Congress check the President's veto? 2. Who holds the nation's "purse strings"? 3. How can the President check a Congress? 4. How does the Senate check the President on treaties? 5. How can the President check Congress to keep a bill from becoming a law?

The Balance of Government
Makes ____________ with other countries. Carries out ___________. ____________ bills he does not like. __________ the budget. EXECUTIVE ____________ treaties and budget. Makes ___________. Overrides President's _______ with ______ vote. Can ________ President for misconduct. LEGISLATIVE

Interprets _________. Can prove laws to be against the ___________. JUDICIAL

__________ presidential appointments for _______________________. Can _________ judges for misconduct. LEGISLATIVE

________ judges for a ________ term. EXECUTIVE

Can prove laws to be _____________. JUDICIAL


The way an idea grows from a bill to a law is a long and complicated process. The framers of the Constitution wanted government leaders to have lots of debate on issues and not just make laws quickly or without thought as to consequences. They chose to design a system that requires both parts of the Legislative Branch to be involved in the lawmaking process and to then have to seek approval from the President (Executive Branch) for the final step. They also prevented the President from being too powerful in this process, by allowing the legislature the option to outvote the President's decision to veto a law. Go to this web site and see the total steps needed to take a bill through the process to become a law. This is part of the Vote Smart site. http://www.vote-smart.org/ TASKS: After reviewing these steps, write what part of the process that you think is the most difficult for the bill to go through. Where do you think bills most likely get stopped or changed? Give your opinion supported by facts from this site. PUT THESE STEPS IN THE CORRECT ORDER: Committee action Vote Debate Floor action Override veto if needed For a more detailed official explanation of how a bill becomes a law, go to this government site and compare it with the explanation at the previous site. http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.html Bill is introduced Conference committee if needed Law is given a number Presidential action

Branches of Government
Instructions: Print this multiple-choice quiz and complete the entire quiz. Choose the best answer. 1) How many branches of the United States government are there? a) 0 b) 1 c) 2 d) 3 2) Congress includes two parts. What are they? a) Legislative and Executive b) Supreme Court and court system c) Senate and House of Representatives 3) The Executive branch of government is headed by whom? a) the President b) Senators c) Representatives d) judges 4) Congress is part of which branch of government? 11) What is another duty of the President? a) Executive b) Legislative c) Judicial 5) What does the Supreme Court do? a) tell other courts what they must do b) make sure laws follow the Constitution c) decide on the punishment for those convicted 6) How many Senators are elected from each state? a) 0 b) 1 c) 2 d) 3 e) depends on the state's population 7) How many Representatives are there from each state? a) 0 b) 1 c) 2 d) 3 e) depends on the state's population a) leads the army, navy, and air force b) decides if laws follow the Constitution c) passes laws d) decides on the punishment of those convicted of crimes 12) What is another duty of the President? a) makes the laws b) decides if laws follow the Constitution c) decides on the punishment of those convicted of crimes d) meets with heads of other countries 13) The Judicial branch of government involves which of the following? a) the President b) the courts c) Congress 14) What level of government is this quiz about? a) Local b) State c) National a) leads the army, navy, and air force b) passes laws c) decides on the punishment of those convicted of crimes d) decides if laws follow the Constitution 10) What is one of the duties of the President? a) to boss other people around b) to pass laws c) to decide how people should be punished d) to see that the laws passed by Congress are carried out 8) How is the President chosen? a) people from the smallest states election b) people from the largest states decide c) people from all fifty states election d) the current President decides 9) What does Congress do?

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