Please explain how the Constitution provides for a system of separation of powers and checks and balances. Include recent examples of these concepts in action.
Provide a fully developed essay of at least 500 words, and cite sources used.
Question 2 of 2
Over the years, have states gained more or less power relative to the federal government? Please discuss and cite recent examples to support your argument.
Provide a fully developed essay of at least 500 words, and cite sources used.
Question 1: Explain how the Constitution provides for a system of separation of powers and checks and balances. Include recent examples of these concepts in action.
A system of checks and balances is a significant aspect of the American political system. This concept originates from the classical theory of separation of powers, by which the executive, legislative and judicial powers of government were devolved into three separate units. This paper is going to explain how the US Constitution provides for the system of separation of powers, and checks and balances. Founding fathers of the constitution formulated the separation of competences was focused on preventing the majority from ruling tyrannically. The founding fathers shied away from bestowing too much power on any branch of the new government (Vile, 2012).
First, in the American Constitution the phrase “separation of powers” is not found in the constitution however the principles are predominant throughout it and the impact on the concept of “Separation of powers” strongly. Therefore, the Constitution shows this concept where the government is divided into three power units. Firstly, the executive branch has the mandate to enforce the law, and it consists of the President of the US. During the time of Washington’s presidency, people came to a realization that one person could not perform the duties of the president without sorting out advice and assistance. Therefore the founding fathers provided cabinet members to support the president in decision making. However, the responsibility for all executive duties and actions still lie exclusively on the president. Also, the legislative branch is responsible for making the laws and consists of members of the Congress as provided for in the constitution. The founding fathers engaged in a debate on whether to base the number of the representatives of the population as it could give more power to populated states or it could give a state the same number of delegates that would give equal power to all states irrespective of their population. Such a compromise led to the formation of the Senate and House of Representatives. Lastly, the judicial branch is the interpreters of the laws, and it comprises of nine Supreme Court justices (Clinton, Bertelli, Grose, Lewis, & Nixon, 2012).
These three branches work discretely and have their individual powers, but they also have to depend on one another to accomplish their goals. Therefore, each of the branches of government can be checked by another branch. For example, the President has the right to appoint Judges and departmental secretaries. However, the appointment must pass through the Senate for approval. The Congress have the mandate to pass a law, but the President can veto it. Also, the Congress and states can amend the Constitution, and the Supreme Court can rule a law to be unconstitutional. Therefore, all these checks and balances are incompetent in their design and not by accident. Through forcing each branch to responsible for each other, no branch will seize enough power to become more dominant. The founding fathers drew up our basic agreement contrary to some background rich in the theorizing of scholars and the statesmen concerning proper ordering in a system of government conferring sufficient power to govern while suppressing the ability to condense the liberties of the governed.
Conclusively, institutional strategies to achieve these principles suffuse the Constitution. Bicameralism diminishes the legislative preponderance, while presidential veto powers give the Chief Magistrate a means of defending himself and of averting congressional outfoxing. The Senate’s role in agreements and appointments checks the President. The Courts have assured independence through good behavior tenure, and security compensation and the judges through their judicial reviews will always check the other two branches. Also, impeachment gives the Congress the mandate to root out any form of abuse and corruption of power in the other two branches. Therefore, the constitution has fully provided for such checks and balances of power to put off power usurps (Clinton, Bertelli, Grose, Lewis, & Nixon, 2012).
Question Two: Over the years, have states gained more or less power relative to the federal government? Discuss and cite recent examples to support your argument.
Even though the federal government has the mandate to make more important decisions than the state government concerning issues of taxation and war. It does not fully assert the fact that federal government has increased in power over the years. The constitution of the US has fully provided the federal government the power to make war; that has changed that much over time. This paper is going to prove the fact that federal government has increased in power comparative to the state government. Unlike the state’s power, the federal government has been growing most sturdily ever since the Great Depression. During that time, President Roosevelt came up with a proposal called the “New Deal” which gave more powers to the federal government. It gave the federal government the mandate to affect the pricing of agricultural products and the responsibility to create a national pension system (Social Security). Due to such programs, the federal government was able to gain more powers, and people had expectations that the federal government is going to do many things to aid the citizens. In the 1960s, the significant increase in power for the federal government came during the Civil Rights Movement. At this era, the federal government took control and regulated the way the states treated their citizens. The federal government had to initiate a law that prohibited racial segregation in all public places (Civil Act of 1964). At the same time, President Johnson ‘s gave the federal government more powers through the “Great Society” program. In this program, the federal government had the authority to give money to local groups and also advised them on how to plan. Also, the federal government had the mandate to tell the Southern states a procedure on conducting elections., as such laws were by -passed by the state government, it escalated the federal government to have more influence within the states.
Even though with recent attempts in trying to outdo the federal government, there is little powers that the state government can gain from the federal government. For example, states have pioneered climate change and universal health insurance directives. Also, Republican governors are fighting to reduce the scope of the Affordable Care Act and execute restrictions on abortion that destabilize the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe Vs Wade (Roe Vs Wade, 1973). Since then, some powers have been directed back to the state government. However, mostly, the federal government has more power compared to the state government. The state government must adhere to the to the federal government rules. The most recent example is the “No Child Left Behind” rule the furnished the federal government with lots of power over the educational policy in the states (Lahaye & Jenkins, 2015). In all ways, the state has gained less power about the federal government.
Conclusively, the state government has the control of the people in their respective states, unlike the federal government laws that govern both people and the states included. Others people argue that the state laws have more control of the citizens as the federal statutes just oversee what the state has to do. With this assertion, it is not a reason to believe that the state government has gained more power. The federal government is the ultimate decider in the most crucial sectors in the US. Therefore, the federal government has gained more power than state government in the past 225 years.
Clinton, J. D., Bertelli, A., Grose, C. R., Lewis, D. E., & Nixon, D. (2012). Separated Powers in the United States: The Ideology of Agencies, Presidents, and Congress. American Journal of Political Science, 56(2), 341-354.
Lahaye, T., & Jenkins, J. B. (2015). No Child Left Behind. In T. Lahaye, & J. B. Jenkins, American Political Fictions (pp. 49-78). New York, United States of America: Palgrave Macmillan.
Roe Vs Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (The Supreme Court 1973).
Saltman, R. B. (2015). In the current bitterly contested political atmosphere, the Supreme Court’s second Decision on Obamacare has resolved little. USApp–American Politics and Policy Blog.
Steve, M. (2016, July 3). Constitutional Topic: Separation of Powers. Retrieved from USConstitution.net: http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_sepp.html#america
Vile, M. J. (2012). Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers. New York: Liberty Fund.
Vinovskis, M. (2015). From A Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind: National Education Goals and the Creation of Federal Education Policy. New York: Teachers College Press.