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Branches of Government: Separating Powers Term Paper


The framers of the constitution drafted the constitution in such a way that no branch would be would be powerful than the other. The constitution aimed at separating powers because it was believed that leaving power in the hands of one individual would lead to dictatorship.

The drafters borrowed the works of John Locke, even though he advocated for the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. Theoretically, all branches of government should have equal powers. The role of each branch is to check the functions of the other branch. In this regard, the division of government into three braches was aimed at ensuring checks and balances. This system is referred to as the checks and balances.

Under this system, no branch can claim to have excess powers than the other. For instance, the executive cannot claim to control foreign and domestic policymaking process because it must consult the legislature. As way of checking the powers of judiciary, the executive, upon consulting the legislature, has the power to appoint the members of the judiciary. The legislature cannot pass bills without the approval of the president. The president has the power to instruct the legislature to amend a certain bill to reflect the interests of the state.

The framers of the constitution gave the legislature more powers as compared to other branches. The legislative branch is made up of the congress and the senate. The main function of the legislature is to make laws (Wasserman 71).

Apart from making laws, it oversees the implementation of policies. In this case, it ensures that the executive and the judiciary implement the laws the way they were passed. The American congress is bicameral implying that it comprises of two main houses. One of the houses is the House of Representatives while the other is the Senate.

Each American state is allocated one representative. However, some states may have more representatives based on the population size. The senate is more stable as compared to the house because the drafters of the constitution wanted a stable legislative organ that would oversee the affairs of the branch for long. In the senate, the executive is represented because the vice-president is the president of the senate.

However, both houses must approve a bill before it becomes a law. The house has more powers that are related to taxation. However, the senate must approve any bill touching on taxation before it is made a law. The senate has more powers in matters related to approval of executive and judicial appointees. The senate has the power to impeach a government official on grounds of bribery, treason, serious crimes, and misdemeanors.

The executive was given considerable powers, but it was under close supervision of the legislature. The main role of the executive is to executive laws formulated by the legislature. In the US, the president and his or her deputy are elected through the Electoral College.

Upon successful elections, the president has the powers to appoint secretaries to head various departments. Some secretaries are expected to advise the president directly on matters affecting the state. However, the senate must approve the appointments. This shows that the executive was not meant to be powerful at all.

The judiciary is made up of judges of the Supreme Court and those of the low courts. The main role of the judiciary is to interpret the constitution whenever the conflict of interest arises. In some cases, the laws formulated by the legislature violate the constitution.

In this case, the judiciary instructs that such laws should not be implemented. It must give adequate reasons for the legislature to be convinced. In fact, scholars observe that the judiciary has a great role to play as far as determination of the laws of land is concerned. However, the judiciary is dependent because its members are appointed by the executive and are approved by the legislature. This limits their decision-making.

In the current American society, the executive is the most powerful arm of government because the president is always given a blank check on matters related to foreign policy. The behavior of the state is determined by its external relationships.

The president has the power to veto the decision made by the legislature. This means that the legislature cannot come up with a law that aims at incriminating the powers of the executive. The executive will always ensure that laws made are favorable to the government. To worsen the matter, the vice-president is the president of the senate. The senate plays a critical role in ensuring that government officials follow the law to the later.

However, they cannot censure a member of the executive in the presence of the vice-president. Apart from vetoing the congress, the executive has the power to call the special session of the congress even when it is not in session. This means that the president has the power to control the operations of the senate. In the Judiciary, the president has the power to pardon criminals. Moreover, all judges are his nominees implying that he can instruct them to fulfill his or her interests.

Works Cited

Wasserman, Gary. The Basics of American Politics. Boston: Longman, 2011. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, August 20). Branches of Government: Separating Powers. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/branches-of-government-2/

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1. IvyPanda. "Branches of Government: Separating Powers." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/branches-of-government-2/.


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IvyPanda. "Branches of Government: Separating Powers." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/branches-of-government-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Branches of Government: Separating Powers." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/branches-of-government-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Branches of Government: Separating Powers'. 20 August.

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