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The role of the government is protection of individuals’ rights. It is a known and common fact that many governments have violated this fundamental role that led to their creation. Consequently, some measures were formed to tame the actions of the government. In the United States of America that role is played by the enforcement of the concept of separation of power (Wiessner, 1993).
The very first three articles in the constitution of the United States of America require that the federal government powers should slip among three arms of the government that include the judiciary, the legislative and the executive (Presser, 1991). According to separation of powers, each branch acts independently, has a function that is separate, and should not interfere with the functions of others. The branches have an interrelated relationship with each other. They work in cooperation and prevent each other from being too domineering and curb assumption of excess power by one organ (Boyer, 2001). The correlation involves checks and balances as one branch watches the actions of the others and imposes corrective measures.
Founders of the constitution and American government looked for a way of preventing tyranny from occurring (Whittington, 1999). Each arm of the government has functions that have been clearly outlined. The congress, which is the legislative branch, is in charge of making laws that govern the country. The court system, which is the judiciary, decides legal controversies and interprets laws made by congress. The president and his cabinet, who represent the executive, are in charge of implementing the laws passed by congress (Savage, 1995). The doctrine of separation of power is supreme to the government of America. This doctrine is acknowledged as a part of the system of the constitution; despite the constitution not having a clause that mandates the separation of power (Whittington, 1999).
This doctrine requires that any individual bestowed upon power by any arm of the government (Judiciary, legislative, or Executive) is not allowed to interfere with powers bestowed upon others in the other arms of the government. Therefore, one branch of the government can not invade or infringe with the functioning of other branches in their right of executing their duties (Vause, 1995). The doctrine of separation of power may not be enforceable in the state governments. The state constitution may merge the powers of the judiciary with that of the legislature into a single function without interfering with the constitution of the U.S. This concept of separation of power is not mandatory to state governments (Fisher, 1985). Most of laws enforceable by state governments are passed by the congress of the federal government.
In the case United States v. Spark (1988) it was concluded that the doctrine of separation of power may not be followed in two occasions. Firstly, when one of the arms of the government interfere with or prevents another branch from fulfilling its functions that are assigned constitutionally (Tanielian, 1995). In the second occasion, the doctrine will be violated when one branch takes power which is assigned constitutionally to the other branch.
This is an effective process of taming the excesses that may be witnessed by one branch of the government. Without this concept of separation of power, there will be chaos and there will no absence of a watchdog to control the actions of the government (Whittington, 1999). These three branches of the government make us understand what others are doing and point out where the others go wrong. Without this, the governed would be in the dark.
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