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 2 entities: the U.S. Senate with 100 Senators (2 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 cases that come to them from lower courts in respect to the validity of relevant laws that Congress has passed, as well as the U.S. Constitution and all pertinent earlier court findings. 


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.

 

There is a 2nd Level of inferior courts known as the 12 regional Appeals Courts aka Court of Appeals aka Circuit Courts.

 

There is a 3rd Level of inferior courts known as the 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 consists of the U.S. President and various other positions 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; considering what relevant cases the Federal courts may have ruled upon.

 

The lack of specific, detailed language in the Constitution describing the power and responsibilities of the executive branch has given any President of the U.S. (POTUS) 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 over 3 million people who work in 1 of 3 general areas:  

 

  • the Executive Office of the President (EOP) 

  • the President's Cabinet and 15 Executive Departments 

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

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