The main purpose of the system of checks and balances in the United States Constitution is to ensure that no one branch of the American government becomes more powerful than the others. This is also referred to as the separation of powers. While this model's roots can be traced back to ancient Greece, the American Constitution borrows heavily on this idea from the French Enlightenment philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu.
The three branches of government include the executive, judiciary and legislative. The executive branch includes the president, the judiciary includes the Supreme Court and the legislative includes Congress. Power is limited in many ways, but an example of checks and balances with regard to the legislative branch includes the president's ability to veto a law that is passed by Congress. Similarly, the judicial branch, or the Supreme Court, may deem a law that is passed by Congress to be unconstitutional. While the president appoints members to the Supreme Court, the appointments have to be approved by Congress.
There are many roles of each branch of government, but every function of each role is designed so that it is checked over by another branch of government. For example, while the judiciary branch can proclaim interpretations of laws by Congress, they cannot change them.Learn More
The primary check the president has on Congress is the ability to veto legislation. The president can also choose to implement legislation in a manner Congress did not intend. Executive orders also give the president significant power.Full Answer >
Some examples of concurrent powers are the power to tax, to build roads, to borrow money and to create courts. Other such powers include making and enforcing laws, chartering banks and corporations, and usurping property with proper compensation to the owner. Concurrent powers are those powers that both the federal and the state governments in the United States (and other federalist countries) have in common with one another.Full Answer >
The non-legislative powers exercised solely by the Senate are mainly those put forth in the Constitution to ensure a system of checks and balances in the Federal government, including impeachment of the president, discipline of its own members, ratification of treaties and presidential appointments. Other powers, such as declaring war, are shared by both houses of Congress.Full Answer >
An informal amendment to the Constitution occurs when the interpretation of a part of the Constitution changes over time. Unlike a true, or formal, amendment, the informal amendment does not actually change the Constitution itself. Rather, the change comes in the form of exactly how the Constitution is interpreted on a social level.Full Answer >