Checks and Balances Essay

715 Words Nov 16th, 2011 3 Pages
Checks and Balances, the constitutional controls whereby separate branches of government have limiting powers over each other so that no branch will become supreme. Perhaps the best-known system of checks and balances operates in the U.S. government under provisions of the federal Constitution.
Most national, state, and local governments have at least the mechanics of a system of checks and balances. Even dictatorial governments, otherwise scorning restraints on powers, provide internal checks to ensure proper performance by governmental agencies and to fix responsibility.
Theory of Checks and Balances. The concept of constitutional checks arose as an outgrowth of the classical theory of separation of powers, by which the legislative,
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The Constitution distinctly separates the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. The federal system adds to the checking because power is divided constitutionally between the central government and the states. Further, the constitutional provisions for direct election of members of both houses of Congress and virtually direct election of the president puts two branches of the government under check of the electorate. However, procedural requirements in the Constitution ensure that even measures popular with the voters cannot be adopted without presumably adequate consideration.
The operation of checks and balances in the federal government is spelled out in the Constitution. The two houses of Congress legislate separately, and this legislation is subject to presidential veto; however, Congress, by a two-thirds vote of each house, can override a presidential veto. The judicial branch, in determining cases, may declare legislation unconstitutional, but the judiciary itself is subject to executive and legislative checking through the appointment of judges and the passage of legislation governing organization, procedure, and jurisdiction of the courts. There also is a possibility of amendment of the Constitution to reverse judicial determinations. Other constitutional checks are the possible legislative removal of the

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