separation of powers

Govt 101 – Exceptionalism

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How do you answer, when someone asks, “What is so exceptional about America?

For several generations the answer has not been taught. Today, few can give a sound answer. Rather, we have emphasized that America is just another nation in the family of nations.

My previous three posts to this column have presented “Separation of Powers”, “Democracy” (should have been named “Representation”), “Federalism”. None of those forms of government are unique to America. Each had been tried before with varying results.

Our founding fathers exhibited astounding wisdom and creativity by incorporating the advantages of each – while seeking to impede the defects of each. Amont the most unique attributes of American government –

For the first time in human history –

· Separation of Powers

· Representation

· Federalism

Were incorporated into a single governmental structure.

Our Constitution creates three Departments, Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Each is intended to be independent of the other two. Separation of Powers.

Our Constitution specifically requires that National and State governments must be “republics” i.e. by representation (as opposed to “majority rule” i.e. “democracy”.) Representation.

Our Constitution creates a vertical (national) and horizontal (state) relationship among our citizens. Federalism.

Our founders understood that there will always be a conflict between individual will (I want my space – back off) and corporate will (We have to go along to get along). “Internal vs. External.” “A conflict within and without.” [Neander – 1852]

The positive results of that combination of principles speaks for itself. The exponential shift away from those results is attributable to our failure to understand what our founders understood. We have permitted the external forces for ever more centralized power to overcome individual internal liberty.

Government created by “We the People” for the purpose of protecting our individual internal and external liberty is now challenging it!

By the way – Beside being sound history and reason, these principles are also Biblical!

The bottom line

Liberty is as evangelical as it is political!!!”

[Rosalie Slater – Co-founder,

Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE)]

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Govt 101 – Separation of Powers

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Definitions  — [“government” is — direction, regulation, control, restraint]

 

  • First – You plan a project.
  • Second – You carry out the plan.
  • Third — You consider how the plan worked.

 

  • A football coach conceives a play and diagrams it for the team.
  • The team executes the play.
  • They judge whether it was executed according to the plan – AND – whether it worked.

 

Think about this –

 

Everything you do.  Every project – From planning the day before you get up, to brushing your teeth and getting dressed – Involves these three functions of “government”.

 

All government involves, legislative, executive, judicial functions.  These functions are represented in the departments of American civil government.

 

  • Congress legislates (makes a law).
  • The President executes the law.
  • The Supreme Court judges the law against the Constitution (the standard).

 

Each department of government is independent of the others:

  • The Congress is elected by the people.
  • The President is elected by the states (Electoral College).
  • The Supreme Court is appointed for life (i.e. independent of changing politics).

 

Our founders wanted each department to be jealous of its turf.  They called it “Separation of Powers”.

 

Note to reader – I lack the computer savvy to insert a diagram.  You do it below please.

Draw an equilateral triangle – but – DO NOT join the corners.  Label the legs, “Legislative”, “Executive”, “Judicial”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now – Pause and consider how each department functions and “checks and balances” the others.

 

Next – Pause and think about what would happen if any two departments were in one person’s hands.  Can you see how the combined departments would overrule the third.

 

When I was a boy, President Roosevelt was having trouble with the Supreme Court.  He proposed adding three more judges (would have given him a favorable majority).  Fortunately, it was not allowed.

 

Our governmental system is outstanding!  There is nothing wrong with the mechanics!  Today’s problem rests with those exercising the authority of each department.  The Legislature is gridlocked in partisan battles.  The President commits treason almost daily.  The Supreme Court Justices are twisting the intent of our Constitution.  Our unique system of government is imploding!

 

The solution to today’s problem rests in our hands.  The ONLY authority those in government have is what we give them.  The conflict between more or less power in government in unending.  It is “we the people” who have neglected and forgotten governmental principles.  It is “we the people” who have taken the lazy way out and permitted the statists to train up our children in the (unintelligent) way they should go.  It is “we the people” who are the ONLY ones, with God’s help, who can stand up and take responsibility for our actions and the means of correcting the damage.

 

By the way – “judicial”, “legislative”, “executive”, functions are Biblical concepts!

“For the Lord is out judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us.”  [Isaiah 33:22]

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