Too much power corrupts the heart, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In an effort to ensure the US government is administered fairly, there is always a balance of power in its three arms of leadership, which are the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Basically, the US government is structured in a way that each branch of the government operates independently. In this manner, there is a separation of power, which avoids one branch of the government from patronizing the others. In addition to this, it ensures that there are checks and balances in the governing process. As aforementioned, the separation of power gives each administrative center control and authority when making its independent decisions. In this case, the administrative arms are able to exercise the powers while limiting members of each branch from overstepping their authority.
Notably, the United States legislative arm refers to its parliamentary system. Noteworthy, the country has a bicameral government, which is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Overly, the two are called the US Congress. The House of Representatives is composed of 435 voting members each of whom represents a congressional district. Basically, a person must be at least 25 years, a US citizen for seven years, and a resident of the state he/she is representing to qualify for this position. In general, each state’s population determines its representation into the House of Representative. Nonetheless, each state has at least one representative in the House of Representation. In addition to the elected members, there are six non-voting members (Patterson 118). The six six non-voting members are composed of one delegate each from Virgin Islands, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico. Noteworthy, members of the House of Representative serve for two years and have no limit to the number of terms that they may serve.
On the converse, the senate is composed of 100 senators. Ideally, each state has two representatives who serve for six years. Basically, each senator is expected to run for re-election unless he/she has been specifically appointed to his/her chair or is serving the remainder of a term. In order for an individual to be a senator, he/she must be 30 years old or more, be a resident of the state he/she is representing, and be a US citizen for at least 9 years.
Generally, the executive powers are vested in the president of the United States. The president runs for four years per term and can only rule for a maximum of two terms. If the president has been in office for two years or more, he/she can only serve for one more additional four-year term. Notably, the executive arm is composed of the president and individuals to whom he/she has delegated his/her executive powers (Ragone 212). Noteworthy, the president is the head of state, the commander-in-chief, and the chief diplomat. Accordingly, he/she has the duty to protect and defend the constitution. In this position, the president presides over the federal government and the military.
In addition to this, he/she has the power to approve or reject a legislation passed by parliament. Noteworthy, this presidential power is only limited if two-thirds of members of both houses vote to override his/her powers. On the same breath, the president may form treaties with foreign governments. However, these agreements must be ratified by two-thirds of the senate. Nevertheless, he/she may be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of the senate for reasons such as treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors.
The vice president is the second highest official after the president. Notably, he/she is the head of the senate and his/her authority is enshrined in article 1, section 3, clauses 4 and 5 of the constitution. Importantly, he/she does not vote in the senate unless where there is a tie. In addition to this, the vice president oversees the electoral college when it is counting votes. Noteworthy, in the event that he/she succeeds the president, his/her authority is transferred to the executive branch. The cabinet, the executive departments, and the federal agencies are the ones that enforce and administer the works of the federal government. Basically, the heads of the federal departments are appointed by the president after the approval by the senate.
The Supreme Court is established by article 3, section 1 of the constitution. Further, the president appoints the federal judges after they have being confirmed by the United State Senate. Notably, the Supreme Court adjudicates cases and controversies on issues relating to disputes between the federal government and states (Jon and Kevin 112-134). Moreover, it also interprets the constitution and can declare any executive action to be unconstitutional if it violates the law. Basically, there are three levels of the federal courts that have general jurisdiction. In addition to this, there are the bankruptcy courts and the tax court, which are specialized courts that deal with issues on specific subjects.
Separation of Power
The separation of power espouses that by the establishment of three branches of government, each branch is able to exercise authority and power that limit the other arms from over stepping on their mandate. In turn, this system is able to implement checks and balances in its operations. Article I, section I of the US constitution grants the Congress all legislative powers. Consequently, both the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot transfer or delegate their authority to other departments or agents. Nonetheless, they may ask for assistance in the interpretation of the meaning of various acts from other branches such as the judiciary.
Article II, section I establishes that the executive powers in the US are vested on the president. Notably, the law makes the president to be the Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, and Militia of various states (Ragone 312). Further, he/she has the mandate to make treaties and oversee the federal government. Since it is impossible for an individual to carry out all these activities simultaneously, the constitution gives him/her mandate to subordinate these duties to various individuals.
Article III, section I establishes that all judicial powers in the US are vested in the Supreme Court and inferior courts that may be established by the congress. The judiciary has the power and authority to rule over cases and controversies. Notably, the president appoints the judges to these courts after he/she is granted advice and consent by the senate. Noteworthy, the legislature may also establish legislative courts. Basically, these courts do not have the right to rule on the issue of common law, equity, or admiralty. In light of this, they only settle public rights cases.
Checks and Balances
Legislative checks and balances
Notably, Article I, section I gives the congress the power to enact laws. Basically, these laws are aimed at ensuring that there is the effective administration of the country. In addition to this, it has the right to enact authority on taxation, borrowing, and forming the budget. Further, it has the right to start and declare a war. Noteworthy, these rulings require the president to sign them in order for them to be legal. Moreover, in case the president’s conduct is found to be unfit, the legislature may start an investigation against the executive branch. Noteworthy, the president requires the senate’s approval and consent when he/she is making appointments for the executive departmental heads. Although the president has the authority to sign and make international treaties, these agreements only become legally binding when the senate ratifies them. Similarly, the legislature is the one vested with the duty and authority of establishing federal courts other than the Supreme Court. Finally, the legislature can override the presidential vetoes if it is able to have a two-third majority rule in both the House of Representation and the Senate.
Notably, Article II section I of the US constitution gives the president executive powers that include the right to veto laws. Basically, this right implies that the executive may refuse to legalize some bills passed by the legislature if in its opinion they will have a negative repercussion to the society (Harrison 354). In addition to this, the executive is the one that starts and establishes a war after getting approval from the Congress. On the same breath, the president is the one who has the mandate of appointing judges after getting the approval of the legislature.
Article III section I gives the judiciary the power to interpret and apply the law. In effect, it has the power to determine if an established law is unconstitutional. Consequently, it is able to limit the legislature from passing illegal laws. Moreover, the Supreme Court monitors its own members and junior courts in order to ensure that there is a uniform application of the law.
Duties and Powers of Each Branch
Basically, the legislative branch main functions are to make laws, to control taxation and spending policies, to declare war, and to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In order to achieve this objective, the legislature has various departments such as The Architecture of the Capitol (AOC), the Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration, Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, Government Printing Office, Library of Congress, Office of Compliance, and the U.S. Senate.
Notably, the executive’s main duty is to enforce the country’s law. In order to achieve these goals, the president through the executive may exercise the power to wage war, declare a state of emergency, pardon convicts, and appoint judges.
To sum up, the separation of power and the establishment of checks and balances is a fundamental aspect in ensuring professional and sound leadership. Notably, this procedure ensures that dictatorial governments and tyrannies are not established. In fact, this method has enabled the US citizens to have freedoms and rights in their activities. In turn, this policy has ensured that the US government has remained economically prosperous as well as being democratic. In light of this, all governments should establish laws that promote separation of power and establishments of checks and balances.
Bond, Jon, and Kevin, Smith. Analyzing American Democracy: Politics and Political Science (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Routledge, 2016. Print.
Harrison, Brigid et al. American Democracy Now (4th Ed.). New York, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Print.
Patterson, Thomas. The American Democracy (11th Ed.). New York, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Print.
Ragone, Nick. The Everything American Government Book: From the Constitution to Present-Day Elections, All You Need to Understand Our Democratic System. New York, NY: Adams Media, 2004. Print.