The president is the head of the executive branch and the country. He or she is responsible for signing and enforcing laws passed by Congress. This branch also includes the vice president and the president’s group of advisors, known as the Cabinet.
Powers of the president
—Makes treaties (that must be approved by the Senate)
—Appoints judges and ambassadors (who must be approved by the Senate)
—Calls Congress into session during “extraordinary occasions”
—Issues executive orders, rules that don’t need Congress’s approval
—Grants pardons to federal offenders
The legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. This branch has the power to “check,” or limit, the president’s power. The law-creation system in the United States, in which members are voted in by the people. Congress writes and revises bills to send to the president to sign into laws. If the president vetoes one, they can override the veto if two-thirds of the representatives disagree with the president and make the bill into a law.
Powers of Congress
—Creates bills that can be voted into laws
—Overrides the president’s vetoes with a two-thirds majority
—Confirms or rejects the president’s appointments
—Confirms or rejects the president’s treaties
—Impeaches the president
The court system in the United States is known as the judicial branch. The Supreme Court is the highest court in this system.
Powers of the Supreme Court
— Decides if the laws passed by Congress or executive orders signed by the president are constitutional and legal
—Declares acts from the president and Congress “unconstitutional”
—Hears cases whose rulings in lower courts have been challenged
From the Nat Geo Kids book Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, revised for digital by Laura Goertzel