The primary purpose for a bicameral legislature is to dilute the effects of the popular will in decision making for a state or country by creating more hurdles for legislation to clear before becoming law and/or by creating one house of the legislature that does not go through direct election. The British Parliament and the original makeup of the United States Congress both fulfilled this purpose.
The British Parliament features the House of Commons and the House of Lords. While the House of Commons consists of members who are directly elected by the public, the House of Lords consists of hereditary peerages. In the past two centuries, limits have been placed on the House of Lords so that the House of Commons has more power in the creation of laws.
In the original United States Constitution, members of the Senate were to be named by state legislatures, and each state received two. State legislators were elected by residents of each state, but senators were not directly accountable to their voting public for election. When some states left Senate vacancies open for months or years because of infighting and it became clear that many senators were simply there to protect private interests, momentum grew for the 17th Amendment, which changed senatorial election to a direct vote.Learn More
Nebraska is the only state in the country to have a unicameral legislature, which means that the legislative body is made up of only one house. Nebraska voters chose this option in 1934, and it took effect in 1937.Full Answer >
A legislature is a governing body that is charged with creating laws and composed of individuals who represent certain portions of the population. The members of a legislature are usually voted for by those that they represent.Full Answer >
The U.S. legislative branch, also known as the legislature or Congress, meets in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The legislative branch comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives.Full Answer >
Once passed by the legislature and signed into law by the president, the people of the United States can challenge any law in the courts under the authority of the judicial branch. Laws deemed unconstitutional by the judiciary are considered void. In this way, justices of the courts become the final arbiters of the fairness and legality of a law's provisions.Full Answer >