“Check and Balance” Vs “Separation of Power” in Democracy
Professor: Stan Starygin
By: Someth Somnea
In the world there are lot of the problem of competition of power even by force, however in order to prevent those conflict many ideology of each political system come up with logic and critical thinking such as Democracy which is one of the ideology that try to prevent war and which created the idea of Check and Balance or we could say the idea of separation of power. Moreover, some philosophers or the leader they believes that check and balance is the good way for people to separated their power, prevent conflict, prevent the corruption, prevent the super power of individual and also it could reach them to success their political ideology.
Separation of Power Vs Checks and Balances
Separation of power is political doctrines under which the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are kept distinct to prevent abuse of power and for this form of separation of powers is widely know as checks and balances. Moreover, to prevent one branch from becoming supreme and to induce the branches to cooperate governance systems employing a separation of power typically are created with a system of checks and balances, the term of separation of powers itself, is generally credited to Montesquieu. Furthermore, check and balance refers to the various procedural rules that allow one branch to limit another, such as the authority of the president to veto legislation passed by congress, or the power of congress to alter the composition and jurisdiction of the federal courts. Therefore, Separation of power is a doctrine that is often believed to rest at the foundation of the country which is democracy system. and there are several philosophers who try to wrote, to support and try to explain the complex theories of separation of power Vs checks and balances of power from one period to another period with their ideology and they always try to develop and change or reform form the normal to the better one and also give the value of power to each people in order to created stable in their society. Those are John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison James Harrington, and Charles Montesquieu........etc...
All in all, base on the history of the world war we understand that because of the division of power are not equal or not clear so that why each country try to compete without understanding the meaning and they believe power is the most important things for control the world. However, after they start understanding clear about the power and especially share the power by use the theory of Checks and Balances or separation of power. Thus, I believe that this is a good way to prevent the conflict between human and power and to prevent the power not to be so supreme and especially power is not only use by forces but it also use with the ideology to get more strong then what we expect.
American History of Separation of Power
The division of state and federal government into three independent branches.
The first three articles of the U.S. Constitution call for the powers of the federal government to be divided among three separate branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary branch. And under the separation of powers, each branch is independent, has a separate function, and may not usurp the functions of another branch. However, the branches are interrelated and they cooperate with one another also prevent one another from attempting to assume too much power, so this relationship is described as one of checks and balances, where the functions of one branch serve to contain and modify the power of another. Through this elaborate system of safeguards, the framers of the Constitution sought to protect the nation against tyranny. Moreover, under the separation of powers, each branch of government has a specific function such as: The legislative branch—the Congress—makes the laws. The executive branch—the president— implements the laws. The judiciary—the court system—interprets the laws and decides legal controversies. The system of federal taxation provides a good example of each branch at work. For the Congress passes legislation regarding taxes and the president is responsible for appointing a director of the Internal Revenue Service to carry out the law through the collection of taxes, and for the courts rule on cases concerning the application of the tax laws. Furthermore, the system of checks and balances, each branch acts as a restraint on the powers of the other two. The president can either sign the legislation of Congress, making it law, or veto it. The Congress, through the Senate, has the power of advice and consent on presidential appointments and can therefore reject an appointee. The courts, given the sole power to interpret the Constitution and the laws, can uphold or overturn acts of the legislature or rule on actions by the president and most judges are appointed, therefore Congress and the president can affect the judiciary. Thus at no time does all authority rest with a single branch of government. Instead, power is measured, apportioned, and restrained among the three government branches and the states also follow the three-part model of government, through state governors, state legislatures, and the state court systems.
All in all, system of government in the United States is largely credited to James Madison and is sometimes called the Madisonian model. Madison set forth his belief in the need for balanced government power in The Federalist, No. 51. However, the concept of separation of powers did not originate with Madison. It is often attributed to the French philosopher Baron Montesquieu, who described it in 1748. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Madison played a leading role in persuading the majority of the Framers to incorporate the concept into the Constitution.
James Madison the American politician and the forth president of the United State of American (1809-1817), Madison a leader in the first congresses of U.S. and he drafted many basic laws which was responsible for the first ten amendments to the constitution. As a political theorist, Madison’s most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to limit the powers of special interests which Madison called factions and his division of the branch are: The legislature, divided into two houses which was to make the law, the executive was to carry out the law, and the judiciary was to adjudicate legal disputes and interpret the law. Yet the legislature controlled the purse strings and it was also allowed to ratify appointments to the executive and judicial branches. The executive appointed judges and could veto laws. The courts were expected to nullify any law or executive action that violated the constitution and these are the few examples of the checks and balance in American system of government in Madison way. Moreover, he believed very strongly that the new nation should fight against aristocracy and corruption (especially of British origin), and was deeply committed to creating mechanisms that would ensure Republicanism in the United States. Another kind of separation of power that devised by Madison is federalism which is the divided between the sate and the national government and it also divided the people of the United States into several compartments, he hoped that although majorities might develop at the sated level and the various majorities would check each other, thus preventing a permanent majority at the national level.
Furthermore, according to my understanding we find out that Madison is one of the philosopher who believe with the idea of separation of power or division of power in there political system which in order to created peace in there working groups and he expected that the United States would be governed by an enlightened and benevolent aristocracy that would protect the interests of the people but would not necessarily be bound by people’s will.
Montesquieu was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the enlightenment and he famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of power which taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. Moreover, Montesquieu described division of political power between an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary. He based on this model on the British constitutional system in which he perceived a separation of powers between king, parliament, and the courts of law. But in Montesquieu’s time the political connection between Britanin’s Parliament and the King’s Ministry was not as close as it would later becomes. In short, Montesquieu who declared separation of power the best way to safeguard liberty and he influenced the framers of the Constitution of the United Stated also in turn influenced the writers of 19th and 20th century constitutions which is called as Checks and Balances. As we knew that Montesquieu lived in the monarchism and in order to prevent the super power from that system and to serves their power to all people, so he created and organize one group which Checks and Balances to prevent the supreme power between king and people. Montesquieu’s radical work divided French society into three classes: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and the Commons and he saw two types of governmental power existing that are sovereign and the administrative. The administrative powers were the legislative, executive and the judiciary, so these should be separate from with dependent upon each other and that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two, either singly or in combination. According to my understanding I believe that Montesquieu always try to find the freedom or right to people because he really belief that power must be share and they have to divided between people and king, people and government, the last one is the King and the government.
As we realize that the political ideology are mostly use power in many ways but the philosopher or politest they also try to prevent those power in many ways even created the theories that divide those power in their political system. Likewise, separation of power Vs checks and balance was one theory or ideology that they created in order to prevent the conflict in the world, country, society, and especially the politest believe that checks and balances could help them easy to separated their power by divide their duty of works or could prevent the corruption. Actually that not only the democracy country who use the idea of checks and balances, even the communist country or socialist country they also use checks and balances, but it absolutely not the same way because those country will created their one idea of separation of power or we can say it is not the checks and balances but it seem the way that they divided their power in order to make stable in their political system. For example, the communist country like China they has good preparation of power in their party and society because as we understand China political culture which the leader of communist party always try to make the interdependent between state and party, people and the government especially they try to created new communist system inside because form Mao period to the Post Mao they always reform their political culture and political economics in order to make stable inside before they receive supporter from their people or outside world, so that why we seem to believe that China have good power sharing to each other inside their political system which lead me to belief that they have their own separation of power Vs checks and balances in different way of democracy’s checks and balances. Moreover, not only country that care about checks and balances but the International organizations also care about those. For example, United Nation one of the giant organization that have good preparation of power or we could said they divided their power to each organs by use checks and balances because as we realize that each organs they always share or check each other job before they make decision . In some cases the Assembly and Security Council also have meeting with other organs if there any problem with there decision or in order to check each other power they must have at least one meeting to discuses about their job. Thus, the idea of separation of power and checks and balances are very important for each country in the world to understand and preparation their country to be stable which lead them to prevent the conflict in their country or it could prevent the conflict in the whole world.
Furthermore, according to my understanding there are lot of philosophers who try to created many ideologies that could lead the whole world have conflict because of those ideologies are severs different their interests, but in fact according to the theory of Thomas Hobbs and John Lock we realize that human nature born with aggressive, selfish, horrible.....etc and they really born as nature to know what they want and what they need also they have a creative idea which always develop, so that why I belief that most of them always try to created some theories that preventing human from use their creative idea in wrong way, develop it in the bad situation, develop to harm themselves, fighting for power or fighting each other. And no matter what they usually try to reach their ideology but at that time their purpose also did not want to create any conflict because as we understand that conflict could destroy everything even their life. Therefore, in order to be success in the term of power country, those countries must share some power or we could say must try to cooperate with other country and especially must try to find lot of friends to support their political ideology which instate of use forces or war that they already have experience from world war. For example, after World War II Japan was face with many problem inside even politics and economics and because of this way could lead Japan easy to caught up with other county to be the partner or friend even the communist county, but as we knew that at that time Japan and U.S. are an enemy, so the only country that could convince Japan to join their political ideology is Soviet Union. Furthermore, because of the cold war existed and U.S. also need many country to be he/her partner in order to against the communist ideology of Russia , thus, U.S. had help Japan to rebuilt their political system, political economy and the most important is built up the new develop economics system in Japan. As we understand that U.S. spent lot of money to Japan and they also influences their political ideology, flow of monetary system, built up a lot of industrial system, built up the new stable system in Japan’s society, and Japan got independent from U.S in 1991, because all of those reasons that could lead me to believe that U.S is the super power country, but they also need partner or supporter so in order to get success in their political ideology U.S must help those poor countries by provide them some donate, provide them some balances of power which made them feel they have balance of power in the new political ideology because as we realize that all countries who lost the world war its mean they lost their power lost everything, and even their political economics, but U.S simply not punish too much to those country, especially Japan one of the example that U.S simply give back some kinds of power to Japan and it means that U.S share the balance of power to Japan with separation of power of their political ideology of democracy, so that why it lead Japan to support Democracy automatically but as we knew that Japan also have follow the UK law system too so it lead Japan easy being a good partner of U.S and nowadays Japan is a high developed country among the super power country as U.S UK or we can say among the G7. By one of these experience which publish democracy very popular to the rest of the world and could lead most county in the world except and support the theory of separation of power Vs checks and balances in democracy system.
In short, I could summary that the idea of Checks and Balances Vs Separation of Power are the idea that lead people to understand that there not only one people, one state, and one country that could work alone, but they must need interdependent to each other in order to success their future plan, success with their own interests which benefit from what they want even in politics and economics because as we realize that people work together because of they believe that they will get benefit from each other no matter what situations and no matter how long it is but it will benefit one time and this is the nature of human being. Thus, to make them reach their thinking or ideology that they need each other or work together they must share power, preparation of their political economy and also create one political system that suitable to the rest of the world to support. Moreover, Democracy is one of the example that we believe it is suitable to the Whole country in the world to follow because in this system they have clear about theory, political theory, political system, political economy system, and we also find out that the country that mostly caught the democracy system they always develop and especially their economic are very fast to growth. For example, those countries are United Kingdom, United State, Australia, Japan........etc all of those countries have lot of experience form the past and they really get successful with there political system especially UK and US now they are the most powerful democracy country that use Checks and Balances. As we knew that UK is the country that have king but UK have separation power and divide there power clearly between king, government and people by use checks and balances, so that why it lead UK is one of the popular political system which is democracy mix with monarchy that make all country that have king should study and understand about it.
The Three Branches of U.S Power
Writes and enacts laws
Enacts taxes, authorizes borrowing, and sets the budget
Usually has sole power to declare war
May start investigations, especially against the executive branch
Often appoints the heads of the executive branch
Sometimes appoints judges
Sometimes may veto laws
May refuse to enforce certain laws (risking impeachment by the legislature)
May refuse to spend money allocated for certain purposes
Wages war (has operational command of the military)
Makes decrees or declarations (for example, declaring a state of emergency) and promulgates lawful regulations and executive orders
Often appoints judges
Sometimes has power to grant pardons to convicted criminals
Determines which laws apply to any given case
Determines whether a law is unconstitutional
Has sole power to interpret the law and to apply it to particular disputes
May nullify laws that conflict with a more important law or constitution
Determines the disposition of prisoners
Has power to compel testimony and the production of evidence
Enforces uniform policies in a top-down fashion via the appeals process, but gives discretion in individual cases to low-level judges. (The amount of discretion depends upon the standard of review, determined by the type of case in question.)
May rule only in cases of an actual dispute brought between actual petitioners
Polices its own members
Is frequently immune to arbitrary dismissal by other branches
LEON P. BARADAT, Political Ideologies Their Origins and Impact. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632, (1979-1984-1988)
Gabriel A. Almond, G. Bingham Powell, Jr. Kaare Strom, Russell J. Dalton, Comparative Politics Today, published by arrangement with Pearson Education, Inc (A World View eighth Edition)