THREE BRANCHES STUDY GUIDE (DM 64)

 

A. President 

The president of the United States heads the executive branch at the federal government level. Although the president has many powers delegated to him from the U.S Constitution, there are many restrictions that apply to him. For instance, the president cannot make any laws. The laws are created by the legislative branch or Congress.

Questions:

A1. What branch does the president belong to and at what level of government?

A2. Which document gave the president power?

A3. Which branch of the federal government creates federal laws in the United States?

A4. What is the other name for the legislative branch at the federal level?

 

B. Options a president has after receiving a bill from Congress

The president has the power to put laws into effect. The president has four options to handle a bill proposed by Congress. The president can sign the bill within 10 days and it will become law. If the president does not sign the bill in 10 days before Congress reaches the last 10 days of its session, the bill will automatically become law without the president’s signature.  

The president can also veto a bill. To veto a bill the president must send it back to Congress. However, Congress can override a veto by 2/3 of the vote in the House of Representatives and 2/3 vote in the U.S. Senate.  When Congress votes to override a veto, the bill immediately becomes law without the president’s signature.  

The last option a president has is the pocket veto. A bill is pocket vetoed if the president does not sign it within 10 days and Congress is within the last 10 days of its session. If that happens the bill dies. However, after a bill is dies, it may be proposed again in another session of Congress.

 

Questions:

B1 .If the president does not want a bill proposed by Congress to become a law, what can he do?

B2 .How many days does the president have to respond to a bill?

B3. What is a pocket veto

B4. What fraction of the votes in Congress does it take to override a veto?

B5. What may the president do if he or she wants a proposed bill to become law?  

B6. May a bill be introduced again in the House of Representatives if it’s dead?

B8. If the president does not sign or veto a bill before Congress reaches the last 10 days of its session what happens to the bill?

 

CLine-item Veto

The line-item veto gives the president power to choose a portion of the bill and sign it into law. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently ruled the line-item veto unconstitutional. The U.S Supreme Court stated that the president has to veto or sign the whole bill.

 Questions:

C1. What is a line-item veto?

C2. Which court ruled the line-item veto unconstitutional?

C3. Does the president have line-item veto power now?

C4. What is the term for picking a certain portion of the bill to become law?

 

D. Impeachment

 

The president can face impeachment and removal from office if charged with serious misconduct. There are two presidents in the U.S history, who have been impeached. They are Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Only the House of Representatives has the power to impeach and only the U.S. Senate has the power to hold a trial of impeachment. The president will be removed from office if he is convicted with a 2/3 vote of the Senate. Once the president is removed from office, the vice president takes the position of the president. No president in the U.S. history has been convicted and removed.

Questions: 

D1. If the president commits a crime what can the House of Representatives do?

D2. If the House impeaches the president what does the Senate do?

D3. What chamber of Congress is allowed to hold a trial of impeachment? 

D4. Name the two presidents, who have faced impeachment?

D5. How many votes does the U.S. Senate need to remove the president from office?

D6. If the president is removed, who will take his position?
   

E. Terms of office for a president

The president is elected for a 4 year term. A president may be elected twice only. If the president suffers serious injury and cannot serve or if he is impeached and removed from office, the vice president takes the place of the president and serves the remaining years. After serving the remaining years, the vice president can run for election as the incumbent. After Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected 4 times Congress passed a Constitutional amendment limiting the president’s tenure in office to two terms. When FDR died in office in 1945, vice president Harry Truman took his place and served the remaining years before running for election. 

Questions: 

E1. How many years are there in a presidential term?

E2. How many times can a president be elected?

E3. Who takes the place of the president if he is too ill to serve the country?

E4. What is a person running for re-election called?

E5. What president served more than two terms in office?

E6. Who took office after Franklin Roosevelt died? 

 

 

F. Branches that check the president:  Congress

The president is checked by the United States Congress and the U.S Supreme Court. The U.S Congress consists of 100 U.S Senators and 435 members in the House of Representatives. The Senators serve a six year term and can run for re-election as many times as they wish. The area that they serve is the whole state. U.S Representatives serve a term of two years and have no term limit as well. The area that they serve is called a congressional district (C.D), which is a specific area within the state. For example California has the most CD’s each of them served by one Representative. 

Questions: 

F1.What two branches check the president?

F2.How many U.S. Senators are there in the U.S?

F3.How many representatives are there in the U.S.?

F4.How many years is a Senator’s term?

F5.How many years is a Representative’s term?

F6.What area does a Senator serve?

F7.What area does a Representative serve?

F8.What is the abbreviation for congressional district?

F9.Is there a term limit for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives?

 

G. Congressional powers: powers delegated to both the Senate AND the House of Representatives: 

The U.S Constitution, ratified in 1789, gives power to both the U.S. Senate and U.S House of Representatives to:

·         Pass bills and send it to the president.

·         Declare war

·         Propose amendments

·                     Provide services to constituents who request them  

·     Determine Appellate Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court

·     Establish courts in addition to the U.S. Supreme Court

·     Determine the salary a federal judge receives (but may not reduce the salary of a sitting judge.) 

 

Questions: 

G1. What year was the U.S Constitution ratified?

G2. Can both the house and the senate declare war?

G3. Can both the house and the senate propose amendments?

G4. Can the house and the senate pass bills to the president?

G5. Can the house and the senate establish courts in addition to the U.S. Supreme Court?

G6. Who determines appellate jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court?

G7. Who determines the salary of a federal judge? 

 

 

H. Congressional powers: powers delegated to the House of Representatives only:

 

Below are the powers given to the U.S. House of Representatives only:

 

·Propose tax bills

 

·Propose spending bills

 

·Impeach the president, Supreme Court justices, and federal judges

 

Questions: 

H1. What chamber of Congress proposes tax bills?

H2. What chamber of Congress proposes spending bills?

H3. Can the House of Representatives impeach the president, justices, and federal judges? 

 

J. Congressional powers: powers delegated to the Senate only:

Below are the powers given to the U.S Senate only

·Confirm federal justices and judges as well as presidential appointments

 

·Ratify treaties

 

·Try impeached federal judges, justices and the president 

 

Questions: 

J1. Can the Senate try and impeach federal judges?

J2. What chamber of Congress can ratify treaties?

J3. Who can confirm federal judges and presidential appointments? 

 

 

K. Branches that check the president:  U.S. Supreme Court 

 

The U.S Supreme Court has the power to interpret laws and exercise judicial review (G 56 m). One of the most important cases in American history, Marbury v. Madison  established the court power to a judicial review. Another important Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, established the “Miranda” warning that a suspect must be given before he can be questioned by authorities, which interprets the 5thand 6thamendments of the U.S. Constitution. In McCulloch vs. Maryland the court gave more power to the federal government by resolving the constitutionality of implied powers .The Supreme Court can regulate both the executive and the legislative branches at the federal level. For instance the U.S. Supreme Court can declare laws proposed by the legislative branch unconstitutional. 

Questions: 

K1.What are the two main powers of the Supreme Court? 

K2.Why was “Marbury v. Madison” important?

K3.What case established the Miranda warning?

K4.What amendments does “Miranda vs. Arizona” interpret?

K5.What amendment mentions the right to council?

K6.What amendment mentions Due Process?

K7.What amendment mentions Double Jeopardy?

K8.What amendment mentions Eminent Process?

K9.What case established judicial review?

K10What case resolved the constitutionality of implied powers?

K11. What branch of the U.S federal Government can interpret laws and declare laws unconstitutional? 
 

 

L. Roles of the president

 As a head of the executive branch the president has many roles. The five most important of them are:

·Chief of State

 

·Chief executive

·Commander in chief of the armed forces

·Chief diplomat

 

·Chief legislator of the United States 

Questions: 

L1. Who serves as Chief of State?

L2. Does the president serve as Chief executive?

L3. Who serves as commander in Chief of armed forces?

L4. Does the president serve as Chief diplomat?

L5. Who serves as Chief legislator of the United States?

 

 

M. Powers delegated to the president

 

The president has the power to veto, appoint justices and judges, and to pardon people convicted of crimes.

 

Questions: 

M1. Who has the power to veto?

M2. Who can appoint judges and justices?

M3. Can the president appoint cabinet members?

M4. Who has the power to pardon someone involved in a crime?