Chapter 26: AMERICAN SYSTEM
Introduction to administrative system in USA
US constitution came into force on 1789 and is the first
written constitution of the world. It also has statutes made
by the congress, judicial decisions made by the American
judiciary and orders passed by the president. American
constitution is rigid as it needs a special procedure to
amend. It is a federal constitution with each of
the states having their own constitutions and a separate
executive and judicial machinery like Governor and Supreme
court and citizenship too.
Emphasis of the constitution is on separation of powers.
President who is head of executive can veto bills of the
Congress i.e. legislature. Supreme court can declare orders
of president or congress as unconstitutional. President
appoints judges of the Supreme court and congress decides
the organization and appellate jurisdiction of the
judiciary. Thus the system has adequate checks and balances.
Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. No citizen can
be deprived of rights granted by the constitution without
due process of law.
President of USA
President and his secretaries aren't members of the house
so motions can't be used to control him. He is elected by an
electoral college. The electoral college has members
directly elected by the people. Its strength is 538. In each
state the number of people is dependent on number of
representatives in both houses. To win 270 candidates are
needed and if no candidate gets a majority then lower
house elects the President.
- Natural born citizen
- 14+ yrs resident in US and 35+ age.
- Two terms maximum of 4 years each.
He can be impeached for grave crimes. the lower house
initiates the impeachment by majority vote. The senate tries
the case here Chief justice of US acts as presiding officer.
If senate passes it by 2/3rd majority then President is
He governs with the help of a cabinet which has people
selected by him.
He isn't responsible to the congress and so can't dissolve
the lower house. Controls present are:
- Congress creates executive departments , commissions,
boards, administration agencies. It determines their
organization, powers, functions and structures. The
independent regulatory commission are placed outside the
- Congress appoints committees to criticize working of the
departments and agencies.
- It can repeal or amend laws to lay public policies.
- Budget presented by president to congress is revised by
subcommittees and committees. It examines accounts and
audit reports.Congress can supervise the operations of
certain executive departments directly.
- Annual report of executive department is presented to
- Administration agencies have to report future plans to
- Congress can ratify treaties and higher appointments
made by the president and also impeach him for treason or
- Appoints high officials.
- Supreme commander of the armed forces.
- Can pass executive orders, veto bills.
- Formulates foreign policy, submits budget for approval.
Upper house or senate has 100 members with 2 from each
state for a 6 year term. Its the most powerful house of the
world. The lower house has 435 members with a two year term.
American congress has special power that it can increase
allocation given to an agency in the budget [not available
in India]. Also the President has a Qualified veto i.e. if
he vetoes a bill passed by the congress, the congress can
overturn the veto by passing same bill with a higher
majority [not in India].
American president unlike Indian president can hold a bill
for maximum 10 days.
American civil service
American civil service has a system of spoils and merit.
The lower posts are filled by Office of Personnel Management
but the higher policy making posts are outside the civil
service laws and up to the discretion of the political
executive to fill. No formal qualification criteria is there
for the civil service. Civil servants can form associations
or unions but can't strike. They have right to vote and can
express views on political subjects [not allowed in India].
however other rights are restricted.
USA has position classification not rank classification
like in India.