FourÂ PrinciplesÂ of the Constitution of US
In the USA and in each of the fifty states, the most basic fundamental is a constitution, which is a relatively simpleÂ document and is the self-designated supreme law of the land. As the supreme law of the land, Constitutional Law texts are generally divided into two parts. The first part is about the allocation of powers. This entails two basicÂ principlesÂ of American Constitution: separation of powers and division of powers. The former one discusses the interaction among the three constituent elements of national government, while the latter one refers to the extent of power possessing by the federal government and ...view middle of the document...
As the forerunner of bourgeoisie divided powers theory, Locker proposed the separation of powers(theÂ legislativeÂ power, the executive power and the diplomatic power) under the predecessors' foundation, though the essence of Locker's theory only wasÂ legislativeÂ power and executive power separation of powers. The genuine founder of the principle isÂ MontesquieuÂ who elaborated the thought systematically. After that, AmercianÂ Paine and Jefferson developed and had consummated the theory. Many countries followed the theory to form their political systems, such as the US.
The Framers ofÂ the US ConstitutionÂ wanted to prevent the concentration ofÂ power into the hands of one individual, or even one group of individuals, withinÂ the nationalÂ government. Thus, they reduced all governmental functions to essentially three: legislative, executive, and judicial. Because they believed that the very root of tyranny was to allow these three essential governmental functions to be exercised by one person or group.1 Consequently, they deliberately set out to divide the three functions into three separate and distinct institutions under the principle of separation of powers, so as to form a more perfect Union.
As a matter of fact, the separation of powers may be spoken of, not simply as a political theory for controlling some would say handcuffing government against a feared tendency to excessive power, but also as a principle of fairness in individual dealings with citizens. Here, one invokes the idea that the one who makes or implements a rule ought not be the same as the one who judges its fair application to particular circumstances. This notion is rather similar to the fundamental principle of natural justice under British common law, that no one ought to be a judge in his own cause.2 This is another significance of the separation of powers.
While the three powers are institutionally separated, their exercise often overlaps. Meantime, one branch of government would invariably seek to encroach upon and to usurp the powers of the others. Additionally, one branch would also resist attempted encroachments of its powers.3 Eventually, the Framers realized that safeguards were needed to help each branch protect its power against attacks. All factors above lead to the recognition of the second vital principle ofÂ the US ConstitutionÂ Law checks and balances, the most common example of which is theÂ president's veto.
The Framers expected the President to use his veto to strike down any law which encroached upon his prerogatives. Moreover, the President'sÂ veto can function as a check on legislation he considers to be unwise. Similarly, while the President makes treaties, the Senate must give its advice and consent to make them effective. Also, while the federal courts exercise a power of judicial review, it is the Congress which endows those courts with such jurisdiction as it chooses within the given parameters of Article V. This principle has a long...