Separation of Powers Essay

The concept of separation of governmental powers is an essential principle to our democracy. 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, so the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. There were three branches created within the Constitution -- the Legislature, Executive, and Judicial, each of which have a distinct function and fine lines separating them.

(1) The Legislative Branch is composed of the House and Senate, The Executive, is composed of the President, Vice-President, and the Departments and the Judicial, is composed of the federal courts and the Supreme Court. The framers answer was a system of checks and balances. The system of checks and balances is a constitutional grant of powers that enables each of the three branches of government to check some acts of the others and therefore ensure that no one branch can dominate. Not only does each branch have some authority over the others, each is politically independent of the others.

(1) The legislative branch makes laws for the nation. The main lawmaking body of this branch is known as Congress. Congress meets at the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D. C. It is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate is conducted of 100 Members, two from each state. Requirements for Senators are: A senator must live in the state from which he is chosen, he must be at least 30 years of age and must have been a citizen of the United States for at least 9 years. Senators are elected for 6-year terms.

(2) The House of Representatives is made up of 435 members. A state that has a big population will have many representatives and a state that has a small population will have only a few representatives, but every state must have at least one representative. The people elect its members for 2-year terms. A representative for The House must live in the state from which he is chosen and be at least 25 years of age. (3) The executive branch makes sure people follow the laws that the legislative branch makes. The leaders of this branch are the President and Vice-President.

When making important decisions, the President often asks for advice from a group of 15 helpers, known as the Cabinet. When people are unsure about the meaning of a law, the judicial branch listens to many opinions and makes a decision. The judicial branch is made up of courts and the highest of these courts is the U. S. Supreme Court and is made up of 9 judges. Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they break the rules of the Constitution. (2) Of the more than 7,500 cases that are sent to the Supreme Court each year, only about 80 to 100 cases are actually accepted.

(3) “The doctrine of Separation of Powers was adopted by the convention of 1787,” in the words of Justice Louis D. Brandeis, “not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The purpose was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy. ” (1) References Magleby, D. B. , & Light, P. C. (2009). Constitutional Democracy. In E. Stano (Ed. ), Government By The People (23rd ed. , pp.20-23).

United States: Pearson. (2001, January 22). Ben's Guide to U. S. Government. Retrieved October 23, 2010 from A service of the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office. Web site: http://bensguide. gpo. gov/k-2/government/gov1. html http://www. evgschool. org/three_branches_of_government. htm References United States government. (2010). In Student Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from Britannica Online for Kids: http://kids. britannica. com/comptons/article-209642/United-States-government