The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution divided the authority of the federal government into three independent branches of government: the legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch carries out the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws. This separation of powers prevents any one branch from gaining power over the entire federal government. Besides separating government into independent branches, the authors of the Constitution also established a system of checks and balances whereby each branch, under certain circumstances, can check the power of the other branches.

Which of the following is NOT an example of the system of checks and balances?


State governments do not have the power to check the federal government since, under the Constitution, federal law is supreme over state law. Of course, a federal law may be unconstitutional, but only the Supreme Court can make that determination, not a state government. All the other answer choices are examples of one branch of the federal government checking the power of another branch.

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