Help with U.S Constitution

timer Asked: Nov 26th, 2015
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Question Description

 explain why the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances are important for our democracy. Provide recent, real-world examples of the separation of powers and checks/balances in action (one example each). 

Tutor Answer

School: Cornell University

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The concept of separation of powers is one of the most important parts of the American constitution. Under the American Constitution, there is the executive branch of government, the legislature and the judiciary. Under the doctrine of separation of powers, roles for the three branches are defined and each branch is mandated to keep the other in check to ensure that none of the branches can appear more powerful than the other. This balance in exercise of power is vital in our democracy, since the will of the people cannot be easily trampled on.

Example 1(Separation of Powers)

In the United States, the congress passed the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 that outlined punishments for the people who lie that they have received military honors. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that this Act was unconstitutional since it infringed on the right of free speech that is protected by the first amendment. The executive took action within a month of the Supreme Court ruling, establishing a government-funded national database of citation of medal to verify awarded military honors.

Example 2 (Checks and Balances)

A bill like Obamacare was proposed by the executive, had to be approved by the legislature, and the judiciary had to approve its constitutionality

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