The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as checks and balances. Three branches are created in the Constitution. The Legislative composed of the House and Senate. The Executive composed of the President, Vice-President. The Judicial composed of the federal courts and the Supreme Court. Each of these branches has certain powers, and each of these powers is limited, or checked, by another branch. For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries. But the Senate must approve these appointments. The Congress can pass a law, but the President can veto it. The Supreme Court can rule a law to be unconstitutional, but the Congress, with the States, can amend the Constitution. All of these checks and balances, however, are inefficient. But that's by design rather than by accident. By forcing the various branches to be accountable to the others, no one branch can usurp enough power to become dominant. The following are the powers of the Executive: veto power over all bills; appointment of judges and other officials; makes treaties; ensures all laws are carried out; commander in chief of the military; pardon power. The following are the powers of the Legislature: Passes all federal laws; establishes all lower federal courts; can override a Presidential veto; can impeach the President. The following are the powers of the Judiciary: the power to try federal cases and interpret the laws of the nation in those cases; the power to declare any law or executive act unconstitutional.
"Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances." Last modified October 28, 2005. Accessed December 7, 2011....
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