Constitutional arrangement in which power is distributed between a central government and subdivisional governments, called states in the United States. The national and the subdivisional governments both exercise direct authority over individuals.
Separation of Powers
Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law
Checks and Balances
Constitutional grant of powers that enables each of the three branches of government to check some acts of the others and therefore ensure that no branch can dominate.
government by one person having unlimited power
Governance divided between the parties, as when one holds the presidency and the other controls one or both houses of Congress.
strong allegiance to one's own political party, often leading to unwillingness to compromise with members of the opposing party
The power of a court to refuse to enforce a law or government regulation that in the opinion of the judges conflicts with the U.S. Constitution or, in a state court, the state constitution.
Writ of Mandamus
Court order directing an official to perform an official duty
Formal accusation by the lower house of a legislature against a public official, the first step in removal from office.
Directive issued by a president or governor that has the force of law
The power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
Presidential refusal to allow an agency to spend funds that Congress authorized and appropriated
God's or nature's law that defines right from wrong and is higher than human law