Flashcards in 17.2b Constitution: Provisions and Principles Deck (7)
UK democracy and sovereignty
Representative democracy and parliamentary sovereignty are outlined by the UK Constitution.
The prime minister is not directly elected but is the leader of the winning party compared to the president who is directly elected.
The UK has elections for the House of Commons, but members of the House of Lords are appointed and not elected.
Parliamentary sovereignty is a key principle of the UK constitution, meaning that it has supreme authority as the representative of the people, and has the ultimate lawmaking power.
Both constitutions divide their national government into the three branches of an executive, legislature and judiciary.
The UK and US constitutions outline representative democracies where citizens vote for politicians to represent them.
The constitutions state the need for a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature has two lawmaking bodies.
US democracy and sovereignty
Direct democracy and popular sovereignty are more clearly seen in the US Constitution.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives are directly elected.
American citizens can directly choose the presidential and congressional candidates through the primary elections.
However, the President is not directly elected - they must win the electoral college.
US checks and balances
Checks and balances are core to the US Constitution and prevent one branch of government from having too much power.
Each branch can limit the power of the others.
The president checks the Supreme Court by appointing its judges and the Senate must vote to approve them.
The president can veto legislation by Congress, but Congress must vote to pass the president’s legislation and can override a president’s veto.
The Supreme Court can rule actions by the executive and legislation passed by Congress as unconstitutional.
UK checks and balances
The UK Constitution enables power to be concentrated in the party which won a majority in Parliament at the general election.
The Prime Minister and executive branch formulate policies and legislative proposals for MPs to vote through Parliament.
The Prime Minister will often pass their legislation through Parliament because they lead the largest party in the House of Commons.
US separation of powers
The US Constitution is based on the separation of powers which means that the executive, legislature and judiciary are completely separate.
Members of the executive cannot be members of the legislature.
The president is not able to end a session of Congress prematurely and call new elections, whilst Congress cannot remove the whole executive and can only remove a president through impeachment.