How The Us Government Is Organized
The Constitution of the United States divides the federal government into three branches to make sure no individual or group will have too much power:
- LegislativeMakes laws
- ExecutiveCarries out laws
- JudicialEvaluates laws
Each branch of government can change acts of the other branches:
- The president can veto legislation created by Congress and nominates heads of federal agencies.
- Congress confirms or rejects the president’s nominees and can remove the president from office in exceptional circumstances.
- The Justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
This ability of each branch to respond to the actions of the other branches is called the system of checks and balances.
Confirmation Process For Judges And Justices
Appointments for Supreme Court Justices and other federal judgeships follow the same basic process:
- The president nominates a person to fill a vacant judgeship.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominee and votes on whether to forward the nomination to the full Senate.
- If the nomination moves forward, the Senate can debate the nomination. Debate must end before the Senate can vote on whether to confirm the nominee. A Senator will request unanimous consent to end the debate, but any Senator can refuse.
- Without unanimous consent, the Senate must pass a cloture motion to end the debate. It takes a simple majority of votes51 if all 100 Senators voteto pass cloture and end debate about a federal judicial nominee.
- Once the debate ends, the Senate votes on confirmation. The nominee for Supreme Court or any other federal judgeship needs a simple majority of votes51 if all 100 Senators voteto be confirmed.
Federal Government Of The United States
|1789 233 years ago|
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic located primarily in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a federal district , five major self-governing territories and several island possessions. The federal government, sometimes simply referred to as Washington, is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
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Elected And Appointed Officials
The US has a strong tradition of local government with a large number of elected officials, such as state legislators, mayors, city council members and even special district officials. Within these governing entities, there are over 500,000 elected officials. And very state, county and municipality has their own set of laws, so understanding the structure of government in your area is important if you.
Cabinet Executive Departments And Agencies
The daily enforcement and administration of federal laws is in the hands of the various federal executive departments, created by Congress to deal with specific areas of national and international affairs. The heads of the 15 departments, chosen by the president and approved with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate, form a council of advisers generally known as the president’s “Cabinet”. Once confirmed, these “cabinet officers” serve at the pleasure of the president. In addition to departments, a number of staff organizations are grouped into the Executive Office of the President. These include the White House staff, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The employees in these United States government agencies are called federal civil servants.
The Judiciary, under Article III of the Constitution, explains and applies the laws. This branch does this by hearing and eventually making decisions on various legal cases.
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Census Bureau Reports There Are 89004 Local Governments In The United States
The U.S. Census Bureau today released preliminary counts of local governments as the first component of the 2012 Census of Governments.
In 2012, 89,004 local governments existed in the United States, down from 89,476 in the last census of governments conducted in 2007. Local governments included 3,031 counties , 19,522 municipalities , 16,364 townships , 37,203 special districts and 12,884 independent school districts .
Conducted every five years , the census of governments provides the only uniform source of statistics for all of the nation’s state and local governments. These statistics allow for in-depth trend analysis of all individual governments and provide a complete, comprehensive and authoritative benchmark of state and local government activity.
The census of governments measures three components: organization, employment and finance. These components provide statistics on the number of governments that exist, the services they provide, the number of their employees and their financial activity. In addition to the information provided for states, cities, counties and townships, the census of governments also provides information on special districts and school districts.
Other Key Findings
Among the key findings in the 2012 Census of Governments preliminary counts:
History of Special Districts and School Districts in the United States
Isans Differ In Level Of Concern That Rights And Protections May Vary Across States
About four-in-ten U.S. adults say they are extremely or very concerned that the rights and protections a person has might be different depending on which state they live in, with an additional 35% saying they are somewhat concerned about this. About one-in-five are not too or not at all concerned about this possibility.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to express this concern: 53% say they are concerned that the rights and protections a person has might be different depending on which state they live in, with a quarter saying they are extremely concerned. Roughly a third of Democrats say they are somewhat concerned that the rights and protections a person has might depend on where they live, and just 13% say they are not too or not at all concerned about this.
Among Democrats, there are differences across demographic groups in the level of concern that rights and protections might vary from state to state.
While similar shares of White and Black Democrats say they are extremely or very concerned that the rights and protection a person has may differ depending on which state they live in, Hispanic Democrats are less likely to say this. Hispanic Democrats are more likely than other Democrats to say they are somewhat concerned individual rights and protection may differ by state.
Among Republicans, there are only modest differences in the level of concern that individual rights and protections may differ from state to state.
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United States Supreme Court Building
|Show map of Central Washington, D.C.Show map of the United States|
|, Cass Gilbert Jr.|
|NRHP reference No.|
The Supreme Court Building houses the . Also referred to as “The Marble Palace,” the building serves as the official workplace of the and the eight . It is located at 1 First Street in , in the block immediately east of the and north of the . The building is managed by the . On May 4, 1987, the Supreme Court Building was designated a .
The proposal for a separate building for the Supreme Court was suggested in 1912 by , who became Chief Justice in 1921. In 1929, Taft successfully argued for the creation of the new building, but did not live to see it built. Physical construction began in 1932 and was officially completed in 1935 under the guidance of Chief Justice , Taft’s successor. The building was designed by architect , a friend of Taft.
Gpersonal Autonomy And Individual Rights
|Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education?||4.0044.004|
There are no significant undue restrictions on freedom of movement within the United States, and residents are generally free to travel abroad without improper obstacles. A patchwork of temporary movement restrictions were imposed across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with states acting independently based on local conditions and strategies, though the rules were loosely enforced and relied mainly on voluntary compliance.
|Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors?||4.0044.004|
Property rights are widely respected in the United States. The legal and political environments are supportive of entrepreneurial activity and business ownership. President Trumps shifting and exemption-filled tariff policies prompted concern throughout his administration that political favoritism was distorting markets involving tariff-sensitive businesses. Similarly, perceived support for the administration allegedly influenced the awarding of government aid and contracts, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus-related business restrictions at the state and local levels caused significant disruption and confusion, prompting civil disobedience and public protests by some private business owners.
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Relationships Between State And Federal Courts
Separate from, but not entirely independent of, this federal court system are the court systems of each state, each dealing with, in addition to federal law when not deemed preempted, a state’s own laws, and having its own court rules and procedures. Although state governments and the federal government are legally dual sovereigns, the Supreme Court of the United States is in many cases the appellate court from the State Supreme Courts . The Supreme Courts of each state are by this doctrine the final authority on the interpretation of the applicable state’s laws and Constitution. Many state constitution provisions are equal in breadth to those of the U.S. Constitution, but are considered “parallel” .
Levels Of Government: Federal State Local
Americans have long had a more favorable view of their state and local governments than the federal government, and this continues to be the case today.
About two-thirds say they have a favorable view of their local government, compared with 54% who have a favorable view of their state government and just 32% who have a favorable view of the federal government.
The share who say they have a favorable view of the federal government is identical to the share who said this three years ago, though there has been substantial movement within each party. Just over one-in-ten Republicans now hold a favorable view of the federal government, down from 41% in August 2019. And about half of Democrats now hold favorable views of the federal government, up from 26% in 2019.
Favorable views of both state and local governments are down slightly since 2019 .
Both Republicans and Democrats tend to hold more favorable views of their state government if they live in a state where their party is currently in control.
Three-quarters of Republicans living in states with a Republican governor and Republican control of the state legislature have a very favorable or mostly favorable view of their state government. A nearly identical share of Republicans living in Democratic-controlled states have unfavorable views of their state government: 35% say they have a very unfavorable view while 41% have a mostly unfavorable view.
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How Many Local Governments Are In The Usa
If you think theres too much government in the United States, you may be on to something. There are over 90,000 government units in the US, with over $3.4 trillion spent annually on direct expenditures for state and local governments. From state, county, local towns and villages all the way to special districts and independent school districts, that makes for a huge amount of bureaucracy.
A breakdown of the total number of local governments in the United States by state and government type can be found in the infographic below:
This data was compiled from the 2017 Census of Governments: Organization, published in 2019. In addition to the federal government and the 50 state governments, the Census Bureau recognizes five basic types of local governments. Three are general-purpose governments: County, municipal, and township governments. Legislative provisions for school district and special district governments are more diverse. Single-function and multiple-function districts, authorities, commissions, boards, and other entities have varying degrees of autonomy that varies by state.
Public Access To The Building
On May 3, 2010, citing security concerns and as part of the building’s modernization project, the Supreme Court announced that the public would no longer be allowed to enter the building through the main door on top of the steps on the west side. Visitors must now enter through ground-level doors located at the plaza, leading to a reinforced area for security screening. The main doors at the top of the steps may still be used to exit the building. Justice released a statement, joined by Justice Ginsburg, expressing his opinion that although he recognizes the security concerns that led to the decision, he does not believe on balance that the closure is justified. Calling the decision “dispiriting”, he said he was not aware of any Supreme Court in the world that had closed its main entrance to the public.
Since recording devices have been banned inside the courtroom, the fastest way for decisions of landmark cases to reach the press is through the .
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Cabinet Of The United StatesCabinet of the United States
|pictured in July 2021|
|Advisory body to the president of the United States|
The Cabinet of the United States is a body consisting of the and the heads of the ‘s in the . It is the principal official advisory body to the . The president chairs the meetings but is not formally a member of the Cabinet. The heads of departments, appointed by the president and confirmed by the , are members of the Cabinet, and acting department heads also participate in Cabinet meetings whether or not they have been officially nominated for Senate confirmation. The president may designate heads of other agencies and non-Senate-confirmed members of the as members of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet does not have any collective executive powers or functions of its own, and no votes need to be taken. There are 24 members : 15 department heads and nine Cabinet-level members, all of whom, except two, had received . The Cabinet meets with the president in . The members sit in the order in which their respective department was created, with the earliest being closest to the president and the newest farthest away.
Smaller States And Bigger States
When the Constitution was ratified in 1787, the ratio of the populations of large states to small states was roughly twelve to one. The gave every state, large and small, an equal vote in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, residents of smaller states have more clout in the Senate than residents of larger states. But since 1787, the population disparity between large and small states has grown in 2006, for example, had seventy times the population of . Critics, such as constitutional scholar , have suggested that the population disparity works against residents of large states and causes a steady redistribution of resources from “large states to small states”. Others argue that the Connecticut Compromise was deliberately intended by the Founding Fathers to construct the Senate so that each state had equal footing not based on population, and contend that the result works well on balance.
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See The Data By State
According to these data sources, there are 519,682 politicians across the United States. Of these, 535 are Federal politicians, 18,749 are State Politicians, and 500,396 are local politicians. Note that the state data is slightly lower than the totals, as we do not include territories in the table.
We break this down further by each level:
Renamed Heads Of The Executive Departments
- : created in July 1781 and renamed Secretary of State in September 1789.
- : created in 1789 and was renamed as by the . The 1949 Amendments to the National Security Act of 1947 made the secretary of the Army a subordinate to the secretary of defense.
- : created in 1903 and renamed in 1913 when its labor functions were transferred to the new .
- Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare: created in 1953 and renamed in 1979 when its education functions were transferred to the new .
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Vice President And The Heads Of The Executive Departments
The Cabinet permanently includes the and the heads of 15 executive departments, listed here according to their . The and the follow the vice president and precede the secretary of state in the order of succession, but both are in the legislative branch and are not part of the Cabinet.Cabinet
- , headed by the : became a military department within the .