Give an example of the constitutional concept of checks and balances among the three branches of the U.S. Government.

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are many from which to choose.  One of the most elemental lies in how the Executive Branch can enforce laws, not pass them.  It is the legislative branch that is the seat of all legislation starting.  Another example of checks and balances can tie into the relationship between the three branches can be seen with justices on the Supreme Court.  The President, in the form of the executive branch, can appoint individuals to sit on the Supreme Court.  The legislative branch is to confirm these individuals and after confirmation, the members of the Supreme Court can interpret the actions of the Executive Branch and the acts of Congress on the grounds of constitutionality.  In this light, one can how essential the principle of checks and balances is to the Constitution.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Framers of the Constitution wanted to make sure that no one branch of government could be too powerful.  In order to accomplish this, they made sure that each branch could "check" the other branches in some way.  There are many examples of such checks and balances.  Here are a few examples:

  • The president may veto laws passed by Congress.  This is a check that the executive has on the legislative branch.
  • Of course, the Congress may override the veto, which is something of a check on the executive.
  • The judicial branch may declare actions of Congress or the executive to be unconstitutional.  This is a check that the judicial branch has on the other two branches.

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