Checks and Balances

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Checks and Balances
Andrea Metz
POS300 Arizona/Federal Government
December 14, 2009

This essay will discuss the Constitutional principle of Checks and Balances. It will explain the concept and effectiveness of the separation of power. As an example, the case of Brown v. The Board of Education will be used to explain the concept and effectiveness of the separation of power. Brown v. The Board of Education is a famous case that ended segregation in schools in 1954 during the Civil Rights Movement.

First, lets start with what the definition of Checks and Balances is as it pertains to the Constitution. The definition according to Merriam-Webster is: “a system that allows each branch of a government to amend or veto acts of another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much power.”. The legislative power is vested in the Congress, the executive power rests with the President and the judicial power is granted to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Each branch of government has separate and particular powers as listed in the Constitution, each branch is also given the power, duty and ability to control and balance the other(s) in a system of checks and balances.

The Constitution grants all legislative power to the Congress. The Congress is bicameral and a bill has to pass both houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. In this way the houses check and balance each other. Both the executive and the judicial branch check and balance the Congress' legislative power. Although only the Congress can make laws, the President has the power to veto bills, in which case the bill can only pass with a 2/3 majority in both houses. Finally, if the Congress and the President agree on a law, the Supreme Court has the power of interpreting the laws and a power of review, i.e. the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional and therefore void. As chief administrator the President is required to see that laws are carried out, to...
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