Disadvantages Of Separation Of Powers

2009 Words 9 Pages
Given recent difficulties in Congress, many skeptics are questioning whether the congressional system will continue to work. The American political system, unlike Britain’s, operates under a principle of separation of powers. In Britain, the leader of the majority party in Parliament is also the head of the executive branch. The Cabinet is made up of members who serve in Parliament as well as in the government. Meanwhile, Article 1 Section 6 of the Constitution explicitly forbids any Senator or Representative from simultaneously serving in Congress and holding a position in the executive branch. Because the executive and legislative branches in Britain have such a close relationship, they do not have the same degree of autonomy. As the leader …show more content…
In Federalist No. 47, Madison draws from Montesquieu in saying that separation of powers is a “sacred maxim of free government”. He argues that when one branch has the ability to assume the powers of another, all checks are effectively useless and the result is a tyrannical power. Madison said that the relationship between branches should be one of checks and balances, rather than intertwined power. While in the United States it is rare that the Presidency and both houses of Congress are controlled by the same party, the British system ensures that the majority party in the House of Commons also controls the government. As Martin Loughlin explains in his book “The British Constitution; A Short Introduction”, because the Parliament and the executive branch are of the same party, whatever legislation the executive branch might support is far more easily made into law with little to no changes, simply because of the power the majority party holds. This system ensures that the minority has virtually no power. As former Labour Party leader David Miliband said, “Being out of power in the Parliamentary system is enough to make you move to America.” This means that laws debated by the Parliament don’t reflect the views of all citizens, rather just the ruling majority. In the American system, a party that is in the minority in one house can still hold significant influence over …show more content…
Deliberation refers to the process of long and careful discussion. This is most often seen in the committee stage, where a few lawmakers who are experts in their respective areas hammer out the minutia of a bill. Debate, or contention involving opposing viewpoints, is characteristic of what happens on the floor of Congress as lawmakers speak out in favor of or against a piece of legislation. In the current political climate, most of the bargaining happens behind closed doors. While there are some conference committees and other formal structures that allow lawmakers to work together across party lines and the houses of Congress, party leaders often use backroom political tactics such as ‘horsetrading’ to reach agreements. Parties decide which way their members should vote on an issue and then enforce the party

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