Show MoreMerriam-Webster defines power as the, “ability to act or produce an effect.” The legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the United States government maintain a delicate balance of power as they make, interpret, and enforce laws. In the first three articles of the Constitution, the framers did their best to ensure that power would be separated to the extent where no single branch of government could claim superiority over another and they further enforced this through the structure of checks and balances. Despite the separation of powers and checks and balances, there is an imbalance of power. The legislative branch has more power than both the judicial and executive branches.
The primary function of the legislative…show more content…
The framers of the Constitution were aware of the weakness of the judicial branch in comparison to the other branches. “(Alexander) Hamilton maintained that despite the power of judicial review, the judiciary would be the weakest of the three branches of government because it lacked ‘the strength of the sword of the purse.’” Despite this weakness, the framers were confident that judicial review would prevent legislators from getting carried away with the amount of power they possess.
In addition to this weakness, the legislative branch is able to exercise additional power through their checks and balances over the judicial branch. The legislature can create or eliminate federal courts and “Congress can also restrict the power of the federal courts to decide cases.” Therefore, despite the Judicial Branch’s power to invalidate legislative acts when they are deemed unconstitutional, the legislative branch can overcome this by creating new laws or by merely changing existing ones until they satisfy both branches of government.
Relative to the judicial branch, the executive branch is even weaker when compared to the legislative branch. The judicial branch’s key focus is enforcing the laws. Similarly to the judicial branch, without laws that the legislators create, the judicial branch wouldn’t have laws to enforce. With regards to checks and balances, the judicial branch, through the President, is able to veto
Separation of powers, division of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of government among separate and independent bodies. Such a separation, it has been argued, limits the possibility of arbitrary excesses by government, since the sanction of all three branches is required for the making, executing, and administering of laws.
The doctrine may be traced to ancient and medieval theories of mixed government, which argued that the processes of government should involve the different elements in society such as monarchic, aristocratic, and democratic interests. The first modern formulation of the doctrine was that of the French writer Montesquieu in De l’esprit des lois (1748), although the English philosopher John Locke had earlier argued that legislative power should be divided between king and Parliament.
Montesquieu’s argument that liberty is most effectively safeguarded by the separation of powers was inspired by the English constitution, although his interpretation of English political realities has since been disputed. His work was widely influential, most notably in America, where it profoundly influenced the framing of the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution further precluded the concentration of political power by providing staggered terms of office in the key governmental bodies.
Modern constitutional systems show a great variety of arrangements of the legislative, executive, and judicial processes, and the doctrine has consequently lost much of its rigidity and dogmatic purity. In the 20th century, and especially since World War II, governmental involvement in numerous aspects of social and economic life has resulted in an enlargement of the scope of executive power. Some who fear the consequences of this for individual liberty have favoured establishing means of appeal against executive and administrative decisions (for example, through an ombudsman), rather than attempting to reassert the doctrine of the separation of powers.