Constitution 6 - Checks & Balances Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Constitution 6 - Checks & Balances Deck (34):

How is the President limited by Judiciary

Judiciary may rule that Presidential action is unconstitutional
-Judges appointed by the President serve for life


How does President check Congress

The President can
Veto bills
Recommend legislation
Call special sessions of Congress


How does the Judiciary limit Congress

It may interpret laws and declare laws unconstitutional


Example of Congress voting against the President

March 2017 - Trump failed to pass the American Health Care Act


Example of Congress amending laws supported by President

Obama was restricted by amendments to budget policies, which he was forced to accept


Example of Congress failing to allocate funding

In 1995 Congress withdrew funding for US military involvement in Bosnia, forcing Clinton to withdraw troops


Example of Congress proposing legislation

Policy platforms from Pelosi, Boehner and Ryan all provide evidence of a President being limited by the agenda of Congress


Example of Congress overturning a presidential veto

Using a two-thirds vote Congress can overturn a Presidential veto
The house overturned Obama's veto against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act in 2016
This bill allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government for any involvement they may have had.
This was easily overturned 97-1 in the Senate, and 348 - 77 in the House


Example of President asking Congress before declaring war

George W. Bush - Iraq war in 2003


Example of Senate power on ratification of appointments

The failure of the Senate to vote on Obama's nomination of Garland to the SC in 2016, allowed Trump to nominate Gorsuch and influence the ideological balance of the court


Meaning of Senate ratification of treaties

The President is not to enter into agreements with other countries without seeking approval from the Senate by a two-thirds vote


Example of Senate ratification of treaties

In 2014, the Senate blocked a UN disability treaty that Obama had pushed for


Example of impeachment and removal of members of executive branch

Bill Clinton 1999


What is the political importance (advantage) of checks and balances

Encourages a spirit of bipartisanship and compromises between the executive and congress


What is the negative effect of checks and balances

Can result in gridlock


Example of gridlock

In 1995, gridlock led to failure of passage of federal budget. Govt. had to close when they ran out of money


Example of the judiciary checking the President

Trump's immigration ban. Executive order was halted by a federal judge after it was challenged over concerns about religious discrimination


Example of checks and balances encouraging compromise

2010, Obama managed to get Congress to pass the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act following Republican support


Example of Congress impeaching the judiciary

In 2010, the House of Representatives impeached federal judge Thomas Porteous for corruption


How can Congress check on the judiciary

Can override decisions through constitutional amendments


Example of Congress proposing constitutional amendments to - in effect - overturn a decision of the Supreme Court

Congress has more recently failed to reverse SC decisions on issues such as flag burning


Checks by Congress on the President

Power to ratify treaties negotiated by President
Power to confirm appointments made by President
Power of investigation
Power of impeachment


Example of Congress ratifying President's treaties

In 2010, the Senate ratified the new START Treaty with Russia by 71 votes to 26


Example of Congress confirming appointments made by President

In 1999, Congress rejected (45-54) Ronnie White - President Clintons nominee for a vacancy on the United States District Court


Example of Congress investigating the executive

Following the 2016, Presidential election, Congressional investigations were carried out by both Houses


Example of the Power of impeachment

In 1998 Bill Clinton was committed by Congress alleging perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Lewinsky scandal


How can the executive check the judiciary

Nominating federal judges
Power of pardon (ability to pardon people)


Example of power of pardon

Watergate Scandal - President Ford pardoned his predecessor - President Nixon
Obama pardoned 212


Example of nominating federal judges

Obama appointed Sotomayor and Kayan
Trump appointed Gorsuch


How can the executive check the legislature

Recommending legislation
Vetoing bills passed by Congress


Example of executive recommending legislation to Congress

George W. Bush used his State of the Union Address to try to get Congress to focus on his 'war on terrorism' and budget priorities


Example of executive vetoing bills passed by Congress

Obama vetoes 12 bills passed by Congress - only one was overridden
Eg. Affordable Care Act Repeal 2016: Vetoes by Obama - HoR failed to override the veto


Criticisms of the system of checks and balances

Too many checks and balances - govt. gridlocked
Not enough checks and balances - expansion of federal govt.
When same party controls both presidency and Congress, checks and balances may cease to be effective


Defences of the system of checks and balances

Change can occur but dependent on broad-based enduring support
Survival of the system shows it has served its purpose of preventing one branch of govt. achieving disproportionate power