- a system by which governmental powers are distributed among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches with each branch having specified procedures for influencing and restraining actions taken by the others: organizational principles for such a system are set forth in the U.S. Constitution
- any system for balancing power, protecting against fraud or error, etc. in an institution, business, etc.
checks and balanceschecks and balances
The system of checks and balances affects how the law is made in the U.S. There are three main branches of the government:
- Executive - the president
- Legislative - the congress
- Judicial - the court system
- The president, for example, has to get the votes and approval from the congress to pass a bill or law.
- The congress can pass a bill or law; but, the president can veto a law that either the House of Representatives or Senate tries to pass.
- If the legislature doesn't like the way a court interpreted something or doesn't like a "rule" a court created in case law, the legislature can then pass a new law changing the rules (provided they get the support from the president and the legislative branch).
- If a law is passed and someone sues to challenge whether that law is constitutional, the Supreme Court gets to take a look and make sure the law doesn't tread on constitutional rights.
checks and balances
checks and balances - Legal Definition
A system of distribution of power among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, in relatively equal proportions, such that each branch has the ability to counter the actions of the other two and thus prevent the entire government from being controlled by any single branch. See also separation of powers.