WRAM - We dedicate our hearts,minds and bodies to protecting our great Republic!
From my assignment today in my Government class at the University of Phoenix:
The question asked was:
What is the significance of checks and balances? Is one branch of government more powerful than the others? Provide a current event example that you think illustrates the power of one branch of government to check another. Do you think this style of government is appropriate for contemporary America? Why or why not?
My reply to the instructor follows:
Separation of power is necessary within a democratic government to preserve its democracy. It assures that no single branch of government wields too much power and it encourages cooperation between each group.
Checks and balances can be defined as a division of power. When one entity holds more power than another, it fosters the possibility of a tyrannical government. If there is no other power that has an equal standing to keep it "in check" and limit that power, it will run unrestricted and can be used in whatever manner it wishes. A second entity with equal power however, keeps that power "in check," and creates a balance of power.
A balance of power lends itself as a defense against tyranny and dictatorship. This is why it is necessary to have a separation between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The U.S. Constitution defines the powers of each branch, including the responsibilities (duties) of each as it pertains to the checks and balances each hold over the other branches.
A recent current event which demonstrates the ability of the power of one branch of government to check another can be seen in the case of:
Lee: Obama ignored Constitution
Originally published in the Salt Lake Tribune
Lee (2012), "On Jan. 4, the president appointed Richard Cordray to head a new federal agency with oversight over the financial industry, and filled three seats on the National Labor Relations Board. The Senate approved none of these positions. In fact, Cordray was specifically rejected by a vote in the Senate last December. The NLRB appointments came just days after they were announced, leaving no time for the Senate to consider or approve the nominees.
The president argued the appointments were valid because he made them during a congressional recess. But, in fact, the Senate continued to hold sessions and did not take the formal steps necessary under the Constitution to be in recess.
Faced with this constitutional hurdle, the president claimed he could simply decide for himself whether or not the Senate was in recess. Such an unprecedented claim cannot pass a laugh test, much less withstand reasonable constitutional analysis. Nothing in our founding documents suggests the president could possibly possess this power.
To the contrary, the Constitution specifically requires that each chamber of Congress must consent to the adjournment of the other chamber if the adjournment is to last longer than three days. At the time of the appointments, the House had not consented to the adjournment of the Senate for a period longer than three days.
Sadly, since making these unconstitutional appointments, President Obama has sought to turn his actions into a partisan political issue. He suggests it was necessary, and even proper, to violate the Constitution because Republicans opposed (or may have opposed) the nominations.
Whatever one may think about the qualifications of his nominees, or even the legitimacy of the agencies to which they were appointed, the president cannot simply ignore constitutional requirements when he finds them inconvenient.
As a U.S. senator, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. I am obligated to resist the action of any president, Republican or Democrat, who seeks to circumvent clear constitutional requirements and upset the critical balance between the coequal branches of government. Our Founding Fathers knew that this constitutional balance was necessary to protect each of us from the tyranny of a single branch or a single man.
As Americans, we must not allow the president to aggrandize his own power at the expense of the Constitution, and ultimately to threaten our liberty. The president is wrong to do so and I will take every opportunity to resist this unprecedented encroachment and to preserve our constitutional Republic.” (para. 5-12).
This style of government is indeed appropriate for contemporary America. Within the past four years, we have witnessed history in the making, as one president has violated the constitution on numerous occasions. This is only one example. Without checks and balances, our freedoms could be lost forever. Similar incidents have happened in the last 100 years in which governments without them have fallen to Nazism and Communism. Don't think it can't happen here.
In summary: Utah is very fortunate to have Mike Lee as a U.S. Senator. He takes his Oath to the Constitution seriously. Why can't all the rest?