How Effectively Do the Three Branches of the Federal Government Check Each Other?

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The idea of checks and balances are central to the federal government. Checks and balances is a system of government in which each branch (executive, judicial and legislative) exercises control over the actions of the other branches of government. The legislative branch of the government (otherwise known as congress) carries out the checks on the executive (the president). An example of this is the power congress have to amend, block and even reject pieces of legislation. An example of this is the events of 2013 when congress blocked Obama’s attempts to control gun ownership. This was an effective use of the checks and balances as congress successfully blocked a piece of Obama’s legislation. The use of this power is not always effective because congress’ blocking can sometimes lead to a gridlock situation. An example of this was in 2010 when congress and Obama spent weeks in gridlock trying to decide how to cut the federal budget. The effectiveness of the legislative checks and balances depends on the makeup of congress. If congress is made up of the same party as the executive and there is a large majority in the congress bills will rarely be stopped making checks and balances ineffective. Judicial Review is a process in which both Congress and the executive can be called to account by the judiciary. The courts have the power of judicial review and can declare the actions of the executive or congress unconstitutional. An example of judicial review on the executive is the case of the United States V. Richard Nixon in 1974. In this case the court ordered president Nixon to hand over the white house tapes and stop the impending investigation of the watergate affair. Nixon complied and handed over the tapes and resigned in the following days. This was an effective check on the Executive by the Judiciary on the Executive. Judicial review however may not always be
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