The Judiciary Branch of Government
This article contains facts and information about the powers, duties, responsibilities and powers of the Judiciary Branch and how the Executive and the Legislative Branches can check the Judiciary.
Definition of the Judiciary Branch of Government
Definition: The Judiciary Branch of Government is empowered to interpret the law, ensure that laws do not violate the US Constitution and to provide a mechanism for the resolution of disputes as defined in Article III of the Constitution. The Judiciary branch consists of the Supreme Court and other Federal courts, referred to as the Lower Courts.
The Judiciary Branch: The Supreme Court and the Judges (Justices)
The Supreme Court is the highest court in America. The Supreme Court Building is the seat of the Supreme Court and is situated in Washington, D.C. There are 9 judges (called justices) on the Supreme Court, who are chosen by the President and approved by the Senate. The 9 judges consist of the chief justice and 8 associate justices. Congress decides the number of justices. There is no fixed term of office for justices, they serve as justices until their death, retirement, or removal from office in exceptional circumstances. Federal judges can only be removed through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate. The Supreme Court is responsible for examining laws and government actions to ensure they do not violate the Principles of the Constitution. The Supreme Court can overrule both state and federal laws if they conflict with the Constitution, this process is called Judicial review.
The Judiciary Branch: The Lower Courts
The US Constitution grants Congress the authority to set up other federal courts. There are currently ninety-four district courts. The Lower Courts apply the law to criminal and civil cases. The state courts use their own state laws that can vary between states. This is why some state courts can impose the death penalty, whilst other state courts cannot. All laws in the US must adhere to the Constitution. The Lower Courts also include those that specialize in tax cases, bankruptcy cases and deals with appeals.
Powers of the Judiciary Branch of Government - Checks and Balances
The work and duties of the Judiciary Branch are subject to controls called Checks and Balance by the other two branches of government - the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. The Checks and Balances are designed to minimize the risk of corruption, abuse, fraud and waste in the government of the United States. The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the other branches on the Judiciary Branch are detailed below.
Powers of the Judiciary Branch - Checks and Balances by the Executive
The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Executive on the Judiciary division are as follows:
The Executive Branch is led by the President who has the power to apply the following Checks and Balances:
The President can appoint judgesThe President can pardon convicted criminals
Powers of the Judiciary Branch - Checks and Balances by the Legislative
The Checks and Balances that can be exercised by the Legislative on the Judiciary division are as follows:
The Legislative branch has the power to impeach and remove judgesThe Legislative division can initiate amendments to the Constitution
It can alter the structure and the size of courts It is empowered to set court budgets
It is allowed to approve Federal Judges
The article on the Judiciary Branch provides a fast overview of the US Government. The following Presidents of the USA video provides a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools.