The components of the constitution are the framework for our country, and all function to give our government structure. The judicial, legislative, and executive branches are all key components that make up our government, acting independently from the others, and allowing for checks and balances in order to prevent misuse of power. Federalism affects how our government is run, and especially the criminal justice system. Within our criminal justice system the main components are law enforcement, criminal courts, civil courts, and corrections.
Federal Government & Criminal Justice System
The United States federal government is made up of three branches, which all serve different purpose but are equal in power to ensure a system of checks and balances. Just like the federal government has a separation of powers and different components, the United States criminal justice system not only has many components, but is also ruled by both federal and state authorities which are seen as federalism. Federal Government Branches
In the system set up by the U.S. Constitution, the United States Federal Government is divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. These individual branches were formed because the Constitution needed to set up a system of checks and balances to help ensure that no one branch became too powerful or abused their powers. By separating the powers and forming checks and balances, no one person or group can have excessive power over the others. The separation of powers allows each branch their own powers so that they can check the operations of the other two branches. The legislative branch consists of the Congress, which are the senate and the House of Representatives. The most significant power the legislative branch has is to make laws. This branch also has the power to declare war, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and control taxing and spending policies (Volkomer, 2011). The president is the head of the executive branch, and approves and carries out laws passed by the legislative branch. This branch is also made up of the vice president, members of the cabinet and other official in various departments. The executive branch has the power to enforce laws, negotiate treaties, and act as head of the state and commander in chief of the armed forces (Davenport, 2012). Finally, there is the judicial branch, which consists of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal Judicial Center. This branch oversees the United States court system, and has the power to deem something as constitutional or unconstitutional (Volkomer, 2011). The Supreme Court is the highest court, and its decisions are final (OTHER. Federalism
Federalism is a system where more than one government has the authority to rule over the same areas. In the United States, federal, state and local governments both share the power to govern over the same territories (Davenport, 2012). An example is how the state of Colorado made a law to where it is legal to smoke marijuana. Colorado is also governed by Federal laws, which rule that smoking marijuana is illegal. This is considered a federal system since more than one government reigns over Colorado.
Federalism in the United States strongly impacts the criminal justice system. The federal government is what has laid out the framework for our government and criminal justice system (Davenport, 2012). Because of federalism, state and local law enforcement officers, the courts, and other authorities must abide by federal laws and limitations set out by the constitution. This allows for a more fair system and ensures that people of the United States have rights and due process when accused of crimes. When someone is charged with a federal crime, then the federal courts will hear the case. “Federal courts can also have concurrent jurisdiction with state courts, depending on the subject matter” (Davenport,...
References: Davenport, A. (2012). Basic Criminal Law: The Constitution, Procedures and Crimes. Third Edition. Pearson Publisher.
Volkomer, W. E. (2011). American Government (Thirteenth Edition Chapter 10). New York:
Pearson Education, Inc.
Themes, G. (11, July 2011). Home Invasion News. A Review of State Home Invasion Laws in
U.S. Retrieved from http://www.homeinvasionnews.com/a-review-of-home-invasion-
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