“At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power” (History.com Editors, 2020). It has been over 200 years since a new government was established. The original document – the Article of Confederation- was proven to be ineffective in bringing together the original states because the states were still operating like independent countries. Today, we are going to explain the three branches of government and their purposes. Then we are going to describe each branch’s role in establishing the Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.
The legislative branch is the one that makes the laws. “The legislative branch drafts proposed laws, confirms or rejects presidential nominations for heads of federal agencies, federal judges, and the Supreme Court, and has the authority to declare war” (USA.gov, 2022). It is also important to know that Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state gets two Senates, but depending on the population of the state determines how many House of Representatives that state will receive. These members are voted on by the citizens of the state. Congress’s role in establishing Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances is that they can elect to impeach the president in justifiable circumstances, and even reject the president’s elected nominees.
“The executive branch carries out and enforces laws” (2022). The president is part of this branch, and he or she is allowed to nominate the heads of federal agencies. American citizens decide which president to vote into office at no cost to them. Presidents can serve two four-year terms while the Vice President can serve unlimited four-year terms regardless of who is president. The executive branch also includes the Cabinet whose job is to act as an advisor to the president. The vice president is also a part of the Cabinet. In establishing Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances, the president can veto laws created by Congress especially ones that conflict with the president’s interest.
“The judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws, applies laws to individual cases, and decides if laws violate the Constitution” (2022). Laws are created, but some are suspected to be unconstitutional. That is when cases needing review get brought before the members of the judicial branch to be interpreted more closely to reach a final verdict. This happens in the Supreme Court which is the most superior court in America. Nine members of the Supreme Court get elected by the president, and they can serve until they die. Their role in establishing Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances is their ability to overturn unconstitutional laws. When this happens, the law that was overturned is no longer valid. However, they cannot enforce this decision; the judicial branch relies on the executive and legislative branches to carry out this decision.
Each branch has special advantages that the other ones do not possess. Separations of Power keep one branch from becoming too strong and acting as a tyrant. Even with power separated, each branch must check one another to keep things in balance to prevent abuse of power. “The framers knew it wasn’t a perfect document. However, as Benjamin Franklin said on the closing day of the convention in 1787: ‘I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such, because I think a central government is necessary for us… I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution”’ (History.com Editors, 2020).
The Constitutional question in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer (1952) was if President Truman had any authority to bypass Congress and the Constitution in wartime. Although the courts did not rule the seizure of the still mill as unconstitutional, I understand that they did not need to because the initial “crime” was the president disregarding the Separation of Powers which was the basis of other “crimes” such as the seizure of the still mill and sending troops to South Korea. “The President’s power, if any, to issue the order must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself (Cont., 1787). “The Court ruled that the President’s role of Commander in Chief power did not authorize the action, and neither did the ‘several constitutional provisions that grant executive power to the President”' (Live.com, 2023). The president cannot send troops to aid other countries without first asking for a declaration of war from Congress. This case illustrates the constitutional principles of separation of powers since the president’s job is to make sure that laws are being enforced; his job is not to create the laws themselves. That is the job of the legislative branch. Furthermore, Truman referenced that throughout history American government has seized private property. That statement is an act of ignoring the Separation of Powers because it is the judicial branch's job to review the Constitution to confirm if that is true or not.
(2023). Live.com. https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fkapextmediassl-a.akamaihd.net%2Flegal%2FLS185%2FLS185_2004B%2FLS185_Unit04.docx&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK
Columbia University Libraries. (n.d.). The Government of the United States [chart]. Journalism Library Blog. https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/journalism/files/2014/02/gov_chart-landscape_color_medsmall.jpg
Constitution of the United States of America (1787). (n.d.). Bill of Rights Institute. https://billofrightsinstitute.org/primary-sources/constitution
History.com Editors. (2020, February 21). Constitution. History. https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/constitution
USA.gov. (2022, August 5). Branches of the U.S. Government. Usa.gov. https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government