Tag Archives: Bills and Laws

Silk’s Civics Class – Bills and Laws

I’m going to have a little fun with some basic learning over the course of a few posts.

I’m starting with BASIC civics. The stuff I learned in elementary school about checks and balances and how a law is made. Sadly most 30 somethings and younger seem utterly clueless here. Think I’m kidding about elementary school? Here yah go; courtesy of Saturday Morning Cartoons and Schoolhouse Rock:

I wish more people would learn this stuff too. It’s utterly scary how many people I’ve seen over the past 10 years screaming for the executive branch’s role to be ignored (with both Obama and Trump).

Even worse, I’ve seen state and local government in California completely violate the entire process, even overturning lawful public votes on referendums (same idea as a Bill but the public itself gets to vote on if it becomes legal – true direct democracy), simply because it wasn’t the result they wanted. Public ignorance and apathy are death to a civilization.

The only part that disappoints me with the above video is that it doesn’t explain the role of a presidential veto as part of the system of checks and balances or how / why it can be overridden with a 2/3 majority of both houses.


For those who actually care, the presidential veto is supposed to act as a check and balance against a corrupt majority vote in the Congress. The founding fathers realized that sometimes we might get a batch of bad apples in office or that congress might do what’s popular and expedient instead of what’s right. Gee, NEVER see that…

They also realized we could elect a bad or biased president also, so Congress was given the ability to override a veto with a 2/3 majority vote of both houses. They figured if it was an important enough law, the 2/3 majority would be there. Otherwise the bill can go back through the process again and modify it so it’s acceptable to both houses of Congress and the President.

Yes, the process was deliberately set up to make laws difficult to pass also. The founders had this silly idea (note sarcasm) that tyranny starts with excessive laws.

And the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) was only supposed to get involved if a law was blatantly unconstitutional. Thanks to lawyers and lobbyists, that’s everything now. At any rate, they have the power to strike down a law if it is unconstitutional.

As part of the checks and balances however, the Constitution can be modified (a long and complicated process involving the states) so as to override the Supreme Court. …OR Congress and the President can go back and work on a new version that IS constitutional.