Why does the U.S. Constitution separate the government into three branches? At the nation’s founding, the Constitution’s framers understood that executive, legislative, and judicial responsibilities differed, and they provided for these distinct functions. They also believed that concentrating authority in one body would result in tyranny. They therefore divided the government into legislative, executive, and judicial branches, so that no single part would become too strong, and empowered each to limit or “check” the powers of the others. This exhibit examines Congress’s unique role and the ways in which it can balance or dynamically shape and challenge the powers of other two branches.
Congress and the Judicial Branch: Jurisdiction The Constitution’s framers created an independent judicial branch, but Congress and the president retain significant power to shape the courts.
Congress and the Judicial Branch: Composition Supreme Court decisions have far-reaching consequences, so the appointment of a justice may affect the law for decades.
Congress and the Judicial Branch: Negotiation Congress and the federal courts have unique but complementary powers as defined by the Constitution.
Congress and the Executive Branch: Nominations and Appointments The Constitution authorizes the president of the United States to appoint individuals to executive and judicial offices with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Congress and the Executive Branch: Balancing Power Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution declares that “all legislative Powers” are “vested in a Congress of the United States.”