Separation of Powers
Over two hundred twenty years ago our great fathers brought forth a nation built on the ideal that freedom is meant for all mankind. Although their actions may have been flawed, the proposed idea was profound and beautiful in nature. In 1776 the United States of America had succeeded from Great Britain and thirteen years later our constitution went into effect (Rodgers 109). This incredible and inspiring piece of writing is much more than a piece of parchment with ink scratched across its length. The Constitution of our United States is a symbol, and even more than that, it is law. It was written to be the supreme law of the land and still is, despite the few amendments that have been made in order to specify the rights of the people. Our fore-fathers recognized the importance of limiting the power of government. After all, they had witnessed firsthand what a tyrannical leader is capable of when his or her power is too much. With that in mind, they set out to write the constitution that would lay the foundation for the fastest growing and most powerful nation known to man. A nation governed by the people, for the people. Fresh out of a war with a country which was led by a single man, the writers feared the possibility of one man again rising to power, and in the first three articles of the Constitution, took precautions in order to insure that this would not happen. The solution – a separation of powers. An idea that dates back to the ancient Roman Empire. A system of checks and balances that would ensure that no one branch of government would grow to become too powerful or, in other words, corrupt. When this was written into the constitution it immediately declared to the rest of the world that the United States would be a land governed by the people, and by free men. The process would give what was meant to be equal power to the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative branches. The notion that governing powers should be evenly distributed was an early demonstration that our nation’s government would be balanced and was meant to last. I believe the separation of powers is the most important provision our fore fathers took in laying the foundation of this great country.
The primary initiative of our government is to propose and write bills, decide if they are in accordance with the Constitution, turn them into law, and carry out those laws. A separation of powers is extremely crucial in this matter. As for the United States, the Legislative branch or congress is presented thousands of bills in the span of a year and very few ever become law (Tauberer). The small number of bills that see action are then passed to the Executive branch (our president) where he/she has the ability to veto the bill or choose to move it to the next step in the lawmaking process. The third and final step in this simplified explanation entails the Judicial branch, a group of nine Supreme Court justices, finalizing the bill by declaring whether the content proposed truly abides by the guidelines laid forth inside of our constitution. Were these steps able to be bypassed, the threat of biased, harmful, or unconstitutional bills being made into law would drastically increase as politicians and individuals in positions of power would use this lack of checks and balances to impose their agendas (right or wrong) upon the nation as a whole. While these steps and precautions help prevent the making of improper laws it cannot completely satisfy everyone. In my lifetime I have seen a loophole be exposed and this system be bypassed. After the terrorist attacks of September 2001 the congress passed a Military Commissions Act which “deprived the Supreme Court [power] to hear claims particularly habeas corpus,” which is questionably abusing their legislative power (Scribner 90-162). Despite instances such as this, the amount of times the process of checks and balances associated with a separation of powers has prevented the allowance of an...
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