The Constitution of the United States divides the federal government into three branches to ensure a central government in which no individual or group gains too much control:
- Legislative – Makes laws (Congress)
- Executive – Carries out laws (President, Vice President, Cabinet)
- Judicial – Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)
Each branch of government can change acts of the other branches as follows:
- The President can veto laws passed by Congress.
- Congress confirms or rejects the President’s appointments and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances.
- The Justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The U.S. federal government seeks to act in the best interests of its citizens through this system of checks and balances.
The executive branch carries out and enforces laws. It includes the President, Vice President, the Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees. American citizens have the right to vote for the President and Vice President through free, confidential ballots.
The judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws, applies laws to individual cases, and decides if laws violate the Constitution. The judicial branch is comprised of the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
The legislative Branch enacts legislation (see graphic below), confirms or rejects Presidential appointments, and has the authority to declare war. This branch includes Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) and several agencies that provide support services to Congress. American citizens have the right to vote for Senators and Representatives through free, confidential ballots.