The Founders established the federal government with three distinct branches, each with powers over the other — something called “checks and balances.” How do political actors, institutions and processes work in the United States? What is the role of political parties? Online politics? How can you make a difference?
- The Presidency, The Executive Branch
- Congress, The Legislative Branch
- The Supreme Court, The Judicial Branch
- Important Laws and Documents
The Presidency, The Executive Branch
The President is charged by the Constitution with executing or enacting law. The Executive branch consists of the President, Vice President (who is also President of the Senate), and Presidential appointees who head various executive departments. The President is elected every four years; a President may serve only two-consecutive terms of office or a maximum of 10 years in office. President Bush is the 43rd president of the United States.
- Your Guide To The Office Of The President
- What Is The President’s Cabinet?
- The Campaign For President: Is It Worth The Cost?
- Presidential Vetos – Who Said No The Most Often?
- Controversial Presidential Pardons
- Attorneys General, 1980-2008
- Measures of Economic Health: Comparison Among Presidents (1980-2007)
- Religion and The Presidency
- The Obama Cabinet
- The Obama Economic Transition Team
- Who Funds The Presidential Transition?
- What Is The White House Economic Council?
- Oaths of Office For Federal Officials
- Profile, President George W. Bush
- Speeches, President George W. Bush
Congress, The Legislative Branch
Congress is charged with making law; it is bicameral, composed of the House of Representatives (435 members) and the Senate (100 members). Members of the House represent a congressional district and serve for a two-year term. Members of the Senate represent a state and serve for a six-year term. Each chamber has some exclusive powers; for example, appropriations bills must originate in the House. When a bill passes both chambers, the President may sign or veto the legislation. Upon signature, the bill becomes law.
- A Visual Guide: The Balance Of Power Between Congress and The Presidency
- Rules of the Senate: Filibuster and Cloture
- Oaths of Office For Congress – Senators and Representatives
- Profiles, Members of the House & Senate
- Statistics on Cloture Motions
- The Federal Budget Process
- What Is The Balanced Budget Amendment?
- The US Senate: Getting To Know Your Government
- How To Contact Your Senator and Representative
The Supreme Court, The Judicial Branch
The Constitution gave judicial power to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. The courts are charged with interpretting the United States Constitution as well as determining if laws and regulations are congruent with the Constitution. The Supreme Court is composed of nine justices, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
- History and Members of the US Supreme Court
- Procedures of the US Supreme Court
- Supreme Court Swing-Vote Cases
- 2006 Term Opinions, US Supreme Court
Important Laws and Documents
The US Constitution outlines the powers and responsibilities of the three branches of government and is a critical and foundational document for the federal government.