Checks and Balances

 

Presidential Seal - Out of many One - Checks and Balances for kids

Checks and Balances for kids
This article contains a kid's guide to the Che
cks and Balances in place in the United States government, together with their connection to the US Constitution. The facts and info on this page answers "How Checks and Balances work." The system of Checks and Balances (controls) are used by the Legislative, Judiciary and Executive branches of government.

What are the Checks and Balances?
The purpose of the Checks and Balances system is to provide a controlled government system by which everyone is bound by the US Constitution, the Supreme law of the land. Each of the three branches of government are empowered to check the actions of the other two branches. This system of Checks and Balances provide for a separation of powers between the branches with controls to exercise restraint and to minimize corruption, abuse, fraud and waste in the running of the United States of America. 

 

Definition of Checks and Balances for kids
Definition: Checks and Balances are limits and controls limits imposed on all branches of a government by giving each branch of government the right to amend or void certain acts of other the branches.

Checks and Balances for kids - Separation of Power
The US Constitution was designed to prevent a concentration of power in one government office or with one government official which might lead to the abuse of power. The
Legislative Branch make the laws, the Judicial Branch interprets the law and the Executive Branch, which is headed by the President, enforces the law.

Checks and Balances for kids - The Constitution
The US Constitution describes how the Checks and Balances are organized and how government officials are chosen to ensure a balance of power is maintained. Each branch has a different function to make, enforce and interpret laws according to the Constitution. The Checks and Balances are governed by the laws and all decisions and actions are based on the law which applies equally to everyone. The Constitution is known as the "Supreme Law of the Land" because all government officials, and all US citizens, must uphold the principles and laws of the US Constitution.

Checks and Balances for kids - The Legislative Branch
The system and function of the Legislative Branch of the Government is defined on the following chart:
US CONSTITUTION
 
Checks and Balances for kids - The Legislative Branch
 
Legislative BranchThe Legislative Branch of Government, carried out by Congress, has the power to make the laws and has the power to pass, repeal (cancel) and amend laws as defined in Article I of the Constitution.

The Executive Checks and Balances: The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Executive on the Legislative division are:
  • The President can veto a bill that has been passed by Congress
  • The President can temporarily appoint senior officials without the approval of the Senate
  • The President can call special sessions and force an adjournment when both houses cannot agree
  • Congress cannot reduce the salary of the president (whilst in office)
The Judicial Checks and Balances: The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Judicial branch on the Legislative division are:
  • The Judiciary has the power to declare laws unconstitutional
  • The Chief justice will preside over impeachment trials
  • Congress cannot reduce the salary of a judge whilst in office
US Capitol Building
The US Capitol
 
Legislative Branch
Congress
Senate & House of Representatives
Agencies
Budgets
Economics
Statistics
Library of Congress

Checks and Balances for kids - The Legislative Branch

Checks and Balances for kids - The Judicial Branch
The system and function of the Judicial Branch of the Government is defined on the following chart:
US CONSTITUTION
 
Checks and Balances for kids - The Judicial Branch
 
Judicial BranchThe Judicial Branch of Government, carried out by the courts and judges, has the power to interpret the law and to provide a mechanism for the resolution of disputes as defined in Article III of the Constitution. The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court and the Lower Courts.

The Legislative Checks and Balances: The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Legislative on the Judicial division are:
  • The Legislative branch has the power to impeach and remove judges
  • The Legislative division can initiate amendments to the Constitution
  • It can alter the structure and the size of courts
  • It is empowered to set court budgets
  • It is allowed to approve Federal Judges
The Executive Checks and Balances: The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Executive on the Judicial division are:
  • The President can appoint judges
  • The President can pardon convicted criminals
Supreme Court
The Supreme Court
 
Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
Lower Courts
State Courts
Tax Court
Circuit Courts of Appeal

Checks and Balances for kids - The Legislative Branch

 

Presidential Seal

 

Checks and Balances for kids - The Executive Branch
The system and function of the Executive Branch of the Government is defined on the following chart:
US CONSTITUTION
 
Checks and Balances for kids - The Executive Branch
 
Executive BranchThe Executive Branch of Government (Administration, headed by the President) is responsible for the daily administration of the government and enforcing the law of the land as defined in Article II of the Constitution.

The Judicial Checks and Balances: The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Judicial Branch on the Executive division are:
  • The Judiciary has the power to declare executive orders unconstitutional
  • The Chief justice is designated as president of the Senate during presidential impeachment trials

The Legislative Checks and Balances:
The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Legislative Branch on the Executive division are:
  • The Legislature has the power to refuse to pass a bill
  • The Legislature has the power to overrule presidential vetoes
  • The Legislative branch has the power to enforce impeachment proceedings to remove the president from office
  • When no candidate or Vice President has a majority of electoral college votes the legislature can choose the winner
White House
The White House
 
Executive Branch
President
Vice President
Executive Office of President
Cabinet
Independent Agencies
Post Office, CIA,
Environment Protection Agency

Checks and Balances for kids - The Executive Branch

Checks and Balances for kids
The Checks and Balances for kids provides a fast overview of the controls exercised by the US Government. The following Presidents of the USA video provides a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools.

 

 

 

Checks and Balances for kids
 
Checks and Balances for kids
The roles and duties of the Checks and Balances for kids
Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives
Powers of the National (Federal), State Branches, Local Branches
Facts about the Checks and Balances for kids
The purpose of the Checks and Balances for kids
Important facts, and helpful Information on the Checks and Balances for kids for schools, homework, kids and children
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