What are the duties and responsibilities of each branch of government?
The legislative branch of government (Congress) writes and passes legislation (laws). The executive branch (the executive departments and the President and cabinet at the federal level) makes sure that laws are enforced and allocates necessary funding. The judicial branch (the court system) evaluates the laws passed by the legislative branch and determines whether they comply with the Constitution.
The government of the US is divided into three branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
Congress is the legislative branch, and it is bicameral: its two components are the House of Representatives and the Senate. They are chosen by voters to serve two-year and six-year terms, respectively. Laws are made by Congress. Impeachment of the president starts in the House and ends in the Senate. A two-thirds majority in the Senate is needed to impeach a President or approve treaties.
The Presidency is the executive branch of the government. Presidents are elected to four-year terms and may serve only two terms. Presidents, unlike the Congress, are not chosen directly by the people. Instead, they are selected by the Electoral College. This is problematic because the Electoral College sometimes overrides the peoples' choice, as in 2000 and 2016. Gridlock occurs when the presidency and Congress are controlled by different parties. Presidents command the armed forces.
The judiciary branch consists of the Supreme Court and an extensive system of lower courts. The Constitution did not explicitly list the powers and duties of the judiciary branch. John Marshall (1755–1835), the fourth chief justice, was instrumental in making the judiciary branch the equal of the other two branches. He did this by establishing the principle of judicial review. In other words, the Supreme Court has the final say in determining the constitutionality of any law in the country.
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