The U.S. Constitution: Checks & Balances Essay

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The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of American governance. Since its creation in 1878, the Constitution remains as the foundation of governance for the Republic and stands as the oldest living Constitution in the world. To prevent a tyranny of the majority will – or of one part of governance – it became necessary to ensure the several branches of government remained separate. To ensure that one of these branches did not trump the other branches, the Founders crafted – within the Constitution – a set of checks and balances. Separating powers, with checks and balances, made the U.S. government unique when it emerged in 1787. The Constitution describes a system of checks and balances and sets up a separation of powers.

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This gives the judicial power to the Supreme Court – but also allows the Congress to appoint lower courts under the Supreme Court. This does not, however, give Congress judicial authority – it simply allows Congress to create lower courts to support the Supreme Court as creation of courts would need laws and Congress has legislative power. In the aforementioned manner, the Constitution creates a separation of powers in the American government.

The Constitution gives the three branches of government an arrangement of checks and balances – through its enumeration of the branches and their related duties and responsibilities. According to Mount, the Legislative branch has, inter alia, power of impeachment of the President of the United States – through the House of Representatives. The Legislative branch also has power to conduct the trial of an impeached President in the Senate. These powers of impeachment and trial also extend to the Judicial branch – the House of Representatives can impeach judges and the trails would occur in the Senate. The Executive branch can veto laws passed by the Legislative branch – and Congress can override vetoes with a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress. Another Executive branch check on the Legislative branch comes through the Vice President’s position as