U. S. Government Checks and Balances



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Mr. Maurer Name: _______________________

U.S. Government



Checks and Balances
Instructions: Use the chart on checks and balances on the back to answer the following questions.
1. How can the President check Congress' power to make laws?
2. How can the Supreme Court check Congress' power to make laws?
3. How can Congress check the President's power to veto laws?
4. How can Congress check the President's power in foreign affairs?
5. How can Congress check the power of the Supreme Court?
The following are examples of real situations in which the system of checks and balances might come into play. Explain exactly which checks and balances could be used in each situation.
6. Congress passes a law on abortion which the President does not agree with.
7. The President appoints a new member of the Supreme Court, but Congress does not like the new candidate's political views.
8. The President makes a controversial treaty with Iran, which most of the American public is against.
9. Congress passes a law which makes it illegal to speak out against members of the Senate.
10. The President breaks many laws while trying to cover up a sex scandal.
11. The Supreme Court declares that Congress' new law on gun control violates the 2nd Amendment. Congress feels that they have overwhelming public support for this law and must make it stick.
12. A federal judge is found to be giving criminals light sentences in exchange for bribe money.
13. The President vetoes an anti-abortion law passed by Congress. 3/4 of all members of Congress support this bill.

Checks and Balances
These are the checks that the different branches of government have on each other’s power.

Remember: Legislative Branch = Congress

Executive Branch = The President

Judicial Branch = The Supreme Court

I. Congress:

A. Can override the president’s veto with a 2/3 vote in each house.

B. Can impeach the president and remove him from office.

C. Can refuse to approve the president’s appointments to the courts and other offices.

D. Can refuse to approve treaties that the president makes with other nations.

E. Can impeach judges and remove them from office.

F. Can amend [change] the Constitution (along with the states).
II. The President:

A. Can veto laws passed by Congress.

B. Appoints judges to the Supreme Court and other courts.
III. The Supreme Court:

A. Can declare laws passed by Congress to be unconstitutional.

B. Can declare actions taken by the executive branch to be unconstitutional.


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