A check and balance are required in each of three branches i.e. Executive branch (President), Legislative branch (House and Senate) and Judicial branch (Supreme Court).
Legislative Branch’s Checks on President
The President has the power to veto any decision or legislation passed by the Legislative Branch. But the House and the Senate can override this power of the Executive Branch by gaining a two-thirds majority in both of the chambers. The President is the commander in chief but it is the House and the Senate that has the power to officially declare war.
President’s checks on Congress
Even though laws are passed by Congress, but President can use the power of veto. The President can also give the Federal Budget to the Legislative Branch.
President’s checks on Judicial Branch
The Supreme Court judge is nominated by the Executive Branch i.e. the President. He can also nominate the federal court system’s judges.
Legislative Branch’s Checks on Judicial Branch
Senate has the power to discard the nominations of the judges of Supreme Court and Federal Courts. The federal court judge can be removed from the House and the Senate.
Supreme Court’s checks on President
When the President is impeached, the Judge of the Supreme Court takes the position of the President of Senate. The judicial review power of the Supreme Court can be used to unconstitutionally rule laws.
Supreme Court’s checks on Legislative Branch
The treaties passed by Congress can be ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Branch through judicial review. Compensation is unable to be reduced.
Even though all three branches have powers, but it is the Congress which has the most power amongst them. The Congress can impeach the President and the Senate is the branch which approves court judges. The impeachment trial of the Judiciary is also done by the Congress. They have the power to change the Supreme Court’s size. Congress has the authority to make courts’ jurisdiction. They can vote to declare war even when President does not want to. They have the ability to impeach the President. Congress seems to have more power mainly because these are the representatives of people and all the laws are passed by them.
Electoral votes determine the winner in the Presidential Elections. There are 538 Electoral votes and the winner needs 270 of them. Each state has their defined number of Electoral votes. But it is not the case that every Electoral winner gets his vote for his or her favorite candidate. There are 48 out of the possible 50 states where if some candidate wins the majority of the votes, all votes go to him or her. For instance, if someone gets 55% votes, then he or she will get 100% of the state’s Electoral votes. This is called ‘Winner takes all’ method. Only two states (Maine and Nebraska) do not follow this method, instead, they do it by the method of Congressional District Method. They give the vote to the candidate who wins in the particular district.
The ratification of 14th amendment took place right after the American Civil War. It is one of the most important amendments to the constitution. It gave equal rights to African-American people. The abolition of slavery, equal civil rights, black people may hold the public offices, black people were granted equal protection etc.
In 2015, 14th amendment was applied to the case ‘Obergefell v. Hodges’ (Yoshimo). It was the case of same-sex marriage. It was in the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, which allows everyone the right to marry someone who is of the same gender as the other person.
Judicial review is the process in which the decisions and acts of either Congress or the Executive Branch are considered unconstitutional. In 2011, the lawsuit Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club vs. Bennett, the court exhibited the judicial review example. The court thought that the funds by the people for elections in some provisions are not constitutionally right. The court declared that the candidate was devoid of his rights, who made use of private money for his campaign.
There are two kinds of courts; Federal Court and State Court. It depends on the violation of the rules and laws that determine which case comes under the umbrella of Federal Court and State court. If the crime involving the violation of the Federal law, it is tried in Federal Court and if the crime violates any state law, it is tried in the State court. For instance, if someone wanted to sue Federal Bureau of Investigation, then the case will be heard in Federal Court, but someone want to file a case against a sheriff, then that case will be heard in State court. The case ‘U.S v. Aaron Burr’ was a treason case which was tried in Federal court. State court handles cases involving violation of traffic rules or disputes in families etc. The cases involving federal laws violation mostly are tried in Federal court because it will grave consequences to the entire nation and state court cases are relatively of small magnitude.
- Immigration Policy = National
- Establishing banks = Both
- Physician-Assisted Suicide = State
- Marijuana for medical use = State
- Laws pertaining to Marriage = State
- Licenses to practice medicine = State
- Intrastate commerce = National
- Borrow money = National
- Ports for shipping = State
- Raise and support a military = Both
- Education = State
- Conducting elections = State
The commerce clause removed the ban on the right the owners of any business dealing with other owners. Before the clause, there was a ban on private business people’s dealings with other owners. The clause states clearly that every person, without the discrimination on the basis of cast, color, creed, race etc. is allowed to do business with another business owner.
There are three ways a person can compete for a public office. The first way is to be affiliated with a major political party. The second way is the write-in method. And the third way is to compete as an independent candidate i.e. he or she is not a member of any political party. The individual has her or his name written as an independent on the election ballot.
The person is considered an independent candidate for the elections if he or she writes a declaration of intent to the judge of the particular county or that individual can also file the intent to the precinct or to the offices of state or district. It is necessary that the individual should do this in the same time period when the other candidates, either member of political parties or independent, do. The signs of all those voters who did not take part in the elections are to be included in the paperwork.
There are many differences between Article of Confederation and US Constitution, for instance, there was no executive in the article but in the constitution, President is the executive or one vote per state was the policy in the article of confederation but in the constitution, there is one vote per senator etc. But the primary difference in both of them was that the central government of American, as per the legislation, was very fragile and a very weak coalition or affiliation of the sovereign states. The article of confederation left almost all the powers to the governments of the states, rendering the federal government with very less power and authority. It was very dangerous for a growing nation at that time because there were many states who wanted independence and they could have easily achieved it because of the weak federal government. But US constitution gave back the power and authority to the central government.
Civil rights deal with the fundamental privilege of a person to have freedom against discrimination on the basis of color, sex, race, religion, political association etc. Whereas the civil liberties deal with what is included in the Bills of Rights i.e. the freedom of speech, marriage etc. (House). It protects the rights of an individual to bear firearms, privacy, unjustifiable search of one’s property etc. The simple example to differentiate between the two is the marriage. The marriage comes under the umbrella of civil liberty but denying a gay marriage comes under the umbrella of civil rights matter.
Respecting all the five civil liberties in the first amendment i.e. freedom of expression, religion, political association, information and government petition. Of the five of them, I would like that freedom to political association can be revoked, but only because the other four are necessary for a man to have. The religious freedom and freedom of speech are paramount. The people can have their rights revoked by political association but they still can express opinions through freedom of expression and freedom of the press. It would not hurt a person more but if any of the other four is revoked, it will be considered an egregious act. It is also that sometimes people come to power that is not suitable for running the country and they manipulate people’s emotion. They are demagogues, in this case, the right would automatically be revoked.
An individual develops thoughts and ideas regarding politics through the course of his or her lives. That is called Political Socialization. But most of, if not all, the time it is done during childhood. When an individual spends time with someone having a particular thinking, that individual tends to support and adopt those ideas. A child spends all his or her time with parents, he or she adopts their attributes, attitudes, behaviors, and ideals. There are ways a person gain political socialization, for example from colleges, families, press, social media etc. The way to change is to view things from a different perspective. Travel around and meet new people of different thinking and beliefs. Engage in discussions with people having different thoughts and ideas and yourself. You will adopt some ideas from them. Through this, the political socialization can be changed.
The political culture and political ideology are two different things. Political culture deals with the operation of government, issues of sociology etc. Whereas political ideology deals with issues related to economics or what is that the government has to do etc. I took the example of American politics. In the US, the political culture is a democracy but then there are two political ideologies i.e. ideology of Democrats and ideology of Republican.
The Republican Party has two divisions inside them. One is considered as the Tea party and the other is traditional Republicans. The tea party comes from taxed enough already (Busby and Cronshaw). They are more inclined towards low taxes but the other faction does not share the same thinking and does not want to lower taxes. The tea party wants the government to lessen their spending. There are many republicans who do not agree with this or if they say they agree, there is a glaring contrast in what they say publicly and what they do.
Political parties and factions started to take place during 1787 when the US constitution was about to be developed. George Washington was very much against this movement and notion of establishing political parties in US democracy. He was of the opinion that it will cause great problems and destruction in the fabric of democratic society. George Washington, in his final speech as US President, he said that we should think about it comprehensively about the notion of political factions and cautioned the people of “baneful” implications of it.
James Madison, who succeeded Thomas Jefferson as the President of United States, was also of the notion that Political factions are not the way to go about with the American democracy but he thought it was necessary in order to avoid further disturbances. James Madison thought that this idea of political parties was not the democratic way but it was maybe a necessity in order to protect the liberty of people. Madison said that even though it is not the right way, but choosing the rights of people was more important than opposing the political parties’ notion.
Busby, Robert, and Sue Cronshaw. “Political Branding: The Tea Party and Its Use of Participation Branding.” Journal of Political Marketing, vol. 14, no. 1–2, 2015, pp. 96–110.
House, Freedom. Freedom in the World 2014: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
Yoshimo, Kenji. “A New Birth of Freedom?: Obergefell v. Hodges.” Harv. L. Rev., vol. 129, 2015, p. 147.