BRANCHES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

The 3 Branches of the U.S. Government are:

  •  Legislative
  •  Judicial
  • Executive

 

Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch consists of the U.S. Senate (2 Senator per State) and the U.S. House of Representatives (based on population). There are, by law, 435 representatives in the House. The Legislative Branch is responsible for creating laws. 

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Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is made up of 107 courts known as the Federal Court System. They are responsible for ruling on the validity of the laws that Congress passes and applying them in individual cases. 


There are 3 levels of the Federal Court System:

1.   Supreme Court

2.   Appeals Courts

3.   District Courts

 

The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court --- this is the only court specifically referenced in the Constitution (Article III, Section 1); and in such inferior courts as the Congress ... shall establish. The number of judges on the Supreme Court is not stated in the Constitution --- however currently there are 9 Federal Judges on the Supreme Court.

 

The 2nd Level has evolved into 12 regional Appeals Courts aka Court of Appeals aka Circuit Courts.

 

The 3rd Level has evolved into 94 District Courts aka District Judicial Courts. These make up the lowest level of the Federal Courts and is the original jurisdiction on most cases. They cover all 50 States and Territories.

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Executive Branch

The Executive Branch is made up of the U.S. President and a myriad of other positions all that goes with that office e.g. Vice President, Chief of Staff, Attorney General, CIA, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc. etc. They are responsible for administering and enforcing the laws that Congress passes.

 

The lack of specific, detailed language in the Constitution describing the power and responsibilities of the executive branch has given presidents a great deal of flexibility to increase its size and scope over the years, in terms of both the range of its authority and the number of people, offices, and agencies employed to carry out its responsibilities.

 

Today, the executive branch consists of well over 3 million people who work in 1 of 3 general areas:  

 

  • the Executive Office of the President (EOP) 

  • the cabinet and 15 executive departments 

  • an extensive collection of federal agencies and corporations responsible for specific areas of the government, e.g. the Environmental Protection Agency,  the U.S. Postal Service, etc. 

 

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