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BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT

CONGRESS (Legislative Branch)


Fundamental Power: To create laws (1/2 > Pres or 2/3)
Power over President (Executive Branch):
Override vetoes (2/3 vote)
Reject (1/2) or filibuster (60%) laws the President wants
Impeach (House 1/2) and fire (Senate 2/3) the President
Power over the Bureaucracy (Rest of Executive Branch):
Call congressional hearings to investigate the bureaucracy (1/2)
Reduce bureaucracys budget
Reject appointees (Senate 1/2)
Impeach (House 1/2) and fire (Senate 2/3) bureaucrats
Power over the Courts (Judicial Branch):
Reject appointees (Senate 1/2)
Impeach (House 1/2) and fire (Senate 2/3) bureaucrats
Remove court jurisdiction over a topic
Introduce constitutional amendments (2/3, need state approval 3/4)
Power over States and Cities:
Celebrity power to persuade (not listed in the Constitution)
Give or take away federal funding ($3 trillion, of which 1 trillion discretionary)
Make new laws with in the limits of the Constitution
Power over Citizens:
Make new laws under the limits of the Constitution (often Interstate
Commerce, laws may be ruled unconstitutional)
Buy support through tax increases and tax credits
Celebrity power to persuade (only if popular, not listed in the Constitution)
Power over Foreign Nations:
Give or take away trade, aid, security
Authorize military action (only if the President asks for it)
Approve or reject treaties (Senate 2/3)

PRESIDENT (Executive Branch)


Fundamental Power: To put laws into action
Power over Congress (Legislative Branch):
Veto Congress laws (2/3 Congress can override)
Use signing statements to detail how the president interprets Congress
laws (not listed in the Constitution, possibly unconstitutional)
Campaign for or against a congressmember (not listed in the Constitution)
Celebrity power to persuade (not listed in the Constitution, often only if of
the same party)
Power over the Bureaucracy (Rest of Executive Branch):
Appoint and fire top bureaucrats (just 4000, Senate needs to confirm)
Executive orders to order a bureaucracy into action (not listed in the
Constitution, borders on unconstitutional)
Fire politically appointed bureaucrats (just 4000 of 4 million workers)
Power over the Courts (Judicial Branch):
Appoint Federal judges (Senate needs to confirm)
Resist the court order (not listed in the Constitution, possibly
unconstitutional)
Use executive privilege to limit courts access not listed in the Constitution,
possibly unconstitutional)
Power over States and Cities:
Celebrity power to persuade (not listed in the Constitution)
Executive orders to order part of the federal bureaucracy into action (not
listed in the Constitution)
Use the military including nationalizing the state national guard
Power over Citizens (none which are listed in the Constitution):
Use of media
Celebrity power to persuade (only if popular)
Executive orders to order part of the federal bureaucracy into action
Power over Foreign Nations:
Personal leadership (not listed in the Constitution)
Initiate military action (limited by War Powers Act)
Negotiate treaties and trade agreements (Senate needs to confirm)

FEDERAL COURTS (Judicial Branch)


Fundamental Power: To interpret laws
Power over Congress (Legislative Branch):
Reinterpret or kill laws (Kill power gained through the Marbury v. Madison
court decision 5 of 9 judges)
Supreme Court can refuse to hear the case (4 of 9 judges)
Power over the President (Executive Branch):
Order the President to act or order the President to stop (power gained
through the Little v. Barreme court decision)
Supreme Court can refuse to hear the case (4 of 9 judges)
Power over the Bureaucracy (Rest of Executive Branch):
Order the bureaucracy to act or order the bureaucracy to stop (power
gained through the Little v. Barreme court decision)
Supreme Court can refuse to hear the case (4 of 9 judges)
Power over States and Cities:
Order the local government to act or order the local government to stop
(power gained through the McCulloch v. Maryland court decision)
Supreme Court can refuse to hear the case (4 of 9 judges)
Power over Citizens:
Order the citizen to act, to stop, to pay a fine, or to be incarcerated
Supreme Court can refuse to hear the case (4 of 9 judges)
Power over Foreign Nations:
None

PARTIES/SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS/CITIZENS (Not a Branch)


Fundamental Power: Democracy, to mobilize voters and dollars to support
or defeat politicians (none of its powers are listed in the Constitution)
Power over President (Executive Branch):
Give or deny campaign support in future elections (brides are a crime)
Spend money on your own to attack the politician (527s)
Protest
Power over Congress (Legislative Branch):
Give or deny campaign support in future elections (brides are a crime)
Spend money on your own to attack the politician (527s)
Provide information to congressmembers and in hearings
Contact the media
Protest
Power over the Bureaucracy (Rest of Executive Branch):
Offer bureaucrats future jobs, and become bureaucrats themselves
Provide information to bureaucracy in hearings
File a complaint or sue in court
Contact your congressional representatives
Contact the media
Protest
Power over the Courts (Judicial Branch):
Sue
Write amicus curiae briefs to persuade the court
Protest
Power over States and Cities:
Join local and state commissions
Persuade the Federal government to act
Persuade the local governments and people to act
Contact the media
Protest
Power over Citizens:
Represent citizens concerns in the media
Create community organizations and recruit citizens
Persuade and protest

BUREAUCRACY (Part of the Executive Branch)


Fundamental Power: To assist the President in
putting laws into action (Beyond the existence of a
bureaucracy, none of its powers are listed in the
Constitution)
Power over Congress (Legislative Branch):
Congress relies on the bureaucrats expertise, Congress too busy to know
the complexities and daily operating of laws
Bureaucracy can try to hide what it is doing from Congress (borders on
criminal)
Congress needs the bureaucracy to help with the needs of
Congressmembers supporters
Power over the President (Executive Branch):
Execute the laws in a manner against the Presidents wishes
Slow in carrying out the presidents orders
Embarrass the president at Congressional committees and with the media
Power over the Courts (Judicial Branch):
Resist the court order (borders on unconstitutional)
Power over States, Cities, Citizens, and Foreign Nations:
Defines and executes laws in a way that can help or hurt

FEDERALISM
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (Washington D.C.)
Fundamental Power: Pass only laws specifically authorized in the US
Constitution.
Power over Cities and States:
When constitutionally authorized, Federal law overrides/preempts state law
(interstate commerce clause)
Withhold Federal money from the states and cities (tax and spend clause)
Use the military including nationalizing the state national guard
STATE GOVERNMENT (State Capitol)
Fundamental Power: Pass whatever laws it wants as long as they are not
denied by the US Constitution or their own state constitution.
Power over the Federal Government:
Reject Federal money
Sue the Federal government
Power over Cities:
When the state constitutionally authorizes it, state law overrides/preempts
city law
Withhold state money from the cities
CITY GOVERNMENT (City Hall)
Fundamental Power: Pass whatever laws it wants as long as they are not
denied by the US Constitution or their own state and city constitutions.
Power over the Federal Government:
Reject Federal money
Sue the Federal government
Federal government too far to know what is going on
Power over State Government:
Reject state money
Sue the state government
State government too busy to know what is going on

This was created by Chris Chiang, feedback can be sent to: govandlaw@gmail.com