Teton Valley Tea Party

The Separation of Powers
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flag.jpg - 8746 BytesThe Constitution of the United States is filled with checks and balances. One of these checks is the separation of powers. By doing this the founding fathers hoped that no one person would ever have enough power to take over the government and destroy the liberty of the people. The major divisions of power of the federal government are...

  • The Executive Branch - The President
  • The Legislative Branch - The House of Representatives and the Senate
  • The Judicial Branch - The Courts
These branches were intended to operate pretty much independent of each other.

The legislative branch has lost a lot of power over the years. For example, there is no provision in the constitution for the president to make an executive order. However, he has been doing it for the better part of 100 years. A presidential executive order is nothing more or less than legislating from the white house which the Constitution reserved to the legislative branch alone. If the president wants it and he either can't wait for the legislature to do it or it would be far too unpopular to get through congress but the president wants it anyway, this is the route he goes. This should not be permitted. It's against the constitution!

The judicial branch is just as bad. You've probably heard this as 'legislating from the bench.' When there's an issue some special interest wants but they know they would never get it through congress, the special interest will try to get the supreme court to hear it. A perfect example of the supreme court legislating from the bench is Roe VS Wade. Our legislative branch never passed a law permitting abortion. It was all done in the supreme court. Now the left is trying to get all sorts of things heard by the court like gay marriage and limiting firearms.

Making laws is not one of the enumerated powers granted by the constitution to either the president or the judicial branch. The president, when a bill is sent to him from the legislature can sign it or veto it. If congress wants it badly enough if the president vetoes it, then they can pass it by a 2/3 majority and it becomes law without his signature. Then it becomes the president's job to enforce it. The judicial branch can nullify a law by declaring it unconstitutional but according to the constitution they can't be making law!

What we've talked about above is a horizontal division of power. There's also a vertical separation...

  • The Federal Government
  • The State Government
  • The local or County and City Governments.
We've already discussed on other pages how the federal government has usurped power away from the state and local governments but let me add a little bit more now. The passing of the 16th amendment, permitting a graduated income tax, has given the federal government the extra money to strong-arm the states. This is because the states now receive huge amounts of money from the federal government for a multiplicity of projects (the highway system, for example).

As the federal government tries to force the states to implement the federal government's policies, the federal government will threaten to withdraw federal funds from the states if they don't comply. This is nothing more than bribery or blackmail, depending on how you look at it. It is all the more insulting when it's realized that much of the money the federal government is withholding from the states came from the states in the first place. The federal government is blackmailing the states with their own money! If this is not tyranny, I don't know what it is.

Again, we've just scratched the surface on the separation of powers. For a little more depth, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers#United_States:_three_branches

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