Checks and Balances Essay

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Checks and Balances

The doctrine of separation of powers developed over many centuries. This practice doctrine can be traced to the British Parliament's gradual assertion of power and resistance to royal decrees during the 14th century. Political theorist, John Locke wrote about the concept of separation of powers in his Second Treatise of Government (1690). In the United States, the separation of powers is a fundamental constitutional principle. The framers of this Constitution saw the need to divide power within the government to prevent a single group from ruthlessly taking over the country. Articles I through III of the Constitution of the United States place each of the basic powers of government in a separate branch. This
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The legislative branch, Congress, has the power to make laws valid for the whole country. Powers like the regulation of taxes, regulation of commerce between the states and with foreign countries, the power to declare war, and the power to impeach the President are some of the issues the legislative branch has to deal with. Congress has two chambers (or "houses"): the Senate and the House of Representatives ("the house").
Executive power is vested in the office of the President of the United States. The President has the dual role of being the chief of state and the head of government. The President is also commander in chief of the armed forces. He issues executive orders, and appoints Supreme Court justices (with senate approval). The president is also called "the chief legislator" because he indirectly proposes many bills, considers all bills from Congress and signs them into law or vetoes them.
Judicial power is given to the Supreme Court. All nine federal judges are appointed by the President and serve "during good behavior," usually meaning for life. The judges cannot be removed from office except for criminal behavior or malfeasance. This makes them less vulnerable to political pressure and outside influence. The main feature of the independent role for the courts lies in their power to interpret the Constitution. They review the "constitutionality" of laws and executive orders. There are

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