The Separation of Powers Doctrine

The Separation of Powers Doctrine

us constitution a readerThe separation of powers doctrine makes it very clear we can never expect good results if the government consists only in the legislative branch. Just imagine the overwhelming doses of gridlock simply because — the inability of those who are in the legislative branch never, ever seem to make up their minds!

Indeed, the Constitution’s powers are arranged in such a way as to lean most of all against the legislature. Publius took seriously the threat to liberty posed by the “impetuous vortex.”

Republican government is impossible without a legislature. Consider that the virtue of the House, according to Federalist 52 is its “immediate dependence on” and “intimate sympathy with the people,” and as stated earlier, fostered especially through the action and/or consequences of frequent elections. It is important to make note that minimal qualifications for office are basic and simple, this is supposed to assist both the representative as well as the people with common ground to ensure that the various interests of a large and diverse people are well-represented.

With the greatest measure of respect, it appears two very important ideals were either not considered or dismissed when writing the US Constitution. One, of the first part it does appear that if one’s representative is not performing well, one could just vote differently in the next election to ensure the change in public representation. Two, as the second part it is further mentioned that although the Founders knew and even predicted that representatives could get bogged down with other matters; this is also the responsibility of the representative.

It is certainly believed that at the time of the Founding Generation each representative could handle their own constituency without a fuss. It is further noted that the Founders were dealing with thirteen colonies that became states. sealIn addition — it did not happen until Lewis and Clark’s expedition that the Founders were remotely aware of the West coast or basically everything from the Ohio valley westward to the Pacific Ocean.

The Founders did however warn of possible misleading by the representatives moreover, of each individual position within the government. Needless to state that it sure doesn’t seem like much of anything would deter a representative from making their own decisions regardless of what their constituencies wanted. Can you think of a time recently where all elected officials from President to Senator to Representative have made extremely unpopular decisions without canvassing or even doing a public opinion poll with what the will of the people might be?

It should be made certain that Publius did address this very notion. In Federalist 53 he writes, if republican government is to succeed, some members must be distinguished by their talents and service to the people, and through constant re-election become “masters of the public business.”

Finally, two-year terms may be necessary, but good government requires talented and experienced members who can apply their accumulated knowledge to the pressing issues of the day.

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About Jon-Paul

Academia, Constitution, Musicianship, all around Caucasian male, straight, and professes Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. Guitars -- Classical, Acoustic, A/E, Strat, a real bassist at heart, Les Paul Standard bass.
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