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Legislature

Relationship With Executive And Judicial Branches

The purpose of a legislature is to make, alter, amend, and repeal laws. Legislatures are empowered to enact laws by virtue of legislative jurisdiction, which is the authority vested in them by the national or state constitution. The enumerated powers of Congress are provided for in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. In addition to their lawmaking duties, members of Congress also have the power to appropriate funds for government functions, institute taxes, regulate commerce, declare war, raise and support a military, approve presidential appointments, and impeach executive officers. Following the national model, each state legislature derives its powers from the state constitution.

In addition to the legislative branch, national and state governments include executive and judicial branches. The head of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH at the national level is the president of the United States and at the state level is the governor. The executive branch enforces the laws enacted by the legislature. It can do so in a number of ways, including policing the streets and prosecuting those who violate laws.

The judicial branch interprets the laws passed by the legislature. The courts first look to the exact language of a particular law. Sometimes the meaning of the statutory language is not clear to the court, or the application of the language to the particular case before the court is doubtful. In such a circumstance, the court tries to determine what the legislature intended when it enacted the statute. Legislative intent can often be determined by looking at the history of the particular law and reading committee notes or congressional debates regarding the law. The judicial branch has developed many maxims of statutory interpretation over many years to help the courts carry out legislative intent when interpreting laws.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Legislative Veto to Lloyd'sLegislature - Structure, Qualifications, Terms, And Compensation Of Legislators, Relationship With Executive And Judicial Branches