In is public education or agenda setting. The

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Last updated: March 10, 2019

In the UnitedStates of America’s constitution, our founding fathers laid out how ourgovernment would operate. In Article I, our Congress is defined and their sixfunctions are laid out. The six functions of congress are as follows. The firstfunction of congress is lawmaking. The second function of congress isrepresentation.

The third function of congress is to serve their constituents.The fourth function of congress is overseeing the executive branch. The fifthfunction of congress is public education or agenda setting.

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The sixth, andfinal, function of congress is conflict resolution. I would like to focus onlawmaking, representation, and congress’ oversight of the executive branch.An importantfunction of congress is their ability (and duty) to write and pass laws. For alaw to pass it must be introduced in either the Senate or House ofRepresentatives (however all apportionment bills must start in the House). Thenthe bill is referred to committee(s). After the bill passes its committee(s)the bill is sent to the floor. If passed the bill is sent to the othercongressional body (we have a bicameral legislative branch in the United Statesof America), where this process repeats itself. If the bill passes both bodiesof congress, the bill is sent to the President.

If he signs the bill it becomeslaw. However, if he vetoes it, the bill is sent back to congress and requiresthat 2/3 of both bodies must approve of the bill for it to become law. Thepresidential veto is a check on congress.

Anotherimportant function of congress is their function of representing theirconstituents. There are two methods of representation in the United States. Thefirst method is known as The Trustee View.

This view states that the elected representative considers what is best for societyas a whole not just a specific aspect or what the majority of that electedrepresentative constituents want. The second method of representation is knownas The Instructed Delegate View. Thisview states that an elected official is bound to vote in accordance with themajority wishes of that representative’s constituents.Perhaps the mostimportant function of congress is their oversight of the executive branch.

Congress is able to do this through apportionment of funds, congressionalhearings/investigations, and interviewing and voting on (Presidentialnominated) potential heads of governmental agencies. All of the fore mentioned,is congress’ ability to give “consent” to the executive branch. If congressdisagrees with the executive branch the United States of America’s constitutionallows for them (congress) to “advise” the executive branch. This oversight ofthe executive branch is a good example of checks and balances.

  Due to ourfounding fathers, we have a system of government known as federalism.Federalism establishes jurisdiction of laws and which laws take precedence (asour constitution states, this would be the federal laws). Our constitution alsoestablishes a high court (commonly referred to as the Supreme Court of theUnited States), but left the establishment of the lower courts to congress.Congress set up our federal court systems.There are many methodsto determine jurisdiction.

The simplest method to determine jurisdiction is tolook at the geographical boundaries. The Supreme Court of California does nothave jurisdiction in Oregon. The most commonly used method is to determinewhether or not the lawsuit relates to state law or federal law. For example, ifJohn Doe, who is visiting California from Texas, crashes his car into JaneDoe’s car (who lives and works in California), the lawsuit would be filed in aCalifornia state court, as that is where the incident occurred. Another exampleof where a case would be filed in a state court is when a worker is injured onthe job.

However, if John Smith is deaf, and would like to see a movie, but themovie theater does not provide captions, then John Smith would file in afederal court. John Smith would file in a federal court because the movietheater violated ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) that states that allorganizations must provide accommodations to those with disabilities (thuspreventing discrimination). Another example of where one filed in a federalcourt is in the infamous Supreme Court of the United States case: Miranda v. Arizona. In this case thehigh court ruled that Mr. Ernesto Miranda conviction of kidnapping and rape wasnot constitutional because the officers who arrested Mr. Ernesto Miranda didnot inform him (Miranda) of his constitutional rights: the right to remainsilent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. As these wereviolated (a forced confession was given), Mr.

Ernesto Miranda was free to walk.The Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in Miranda v. Arizona led to officers across the nation notifying allarrested suspects of their rights, now known as the Miranda rights.

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