Saturday, February 11, 2017

Basic Civic Class One

Things you would know if they still taught civics in high school or, things you'd better learn while we still have high schools.

C.W. and I were talking …

He asked about how our federal government was structured. That prompted me to compose the following in a form suitable for broad dissemination.

So …

There are three branches of the United States federal government:

Legislative Branch (House and Senate) They make laws.
Executive Branch (the President and cabinet) They carry out laws,
Judicial Branch (federal courts, including the Supreme Court) They evaluate the constitutionality of laws).

Interestingly the Judicial Branch was believed, early on, to be the weakest. Then, in 1803 came the case of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137.  Chief Justice John Marshall’s court established the principle of judicial review which claimed the Supreme Court’s right, under Article III of the Constitution, to determine if a law passed by the legislature and signed by the president is compatible with the Constitution, and may, thereby, be enforced. (Yes, Virginia, there is more to the U.S. Constitution than the Second Amendment).

This gave the Supreme Court a level of power perhaps not envisioned originally Who knows? But it's been working that way for over 200 years. 

Now, I can pass the foregoing along because I teach public administration at a university. But, please don’t ask me what happens when a president of the United States of America is unaware of it because I do not teach abnormal psychology.

Your current Executive Branch leaders.
They seem happy. - C.W.

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