.. through interpretations of laws by the courts, and through the president’s position as leader of his party. The president is charged with enforcing all federal laws and with supervising all federal administrative agencies. In practice these powers are delegated to subordinates. The president’s principal helpers include the White House staff, specialised agencies of the Executive Office, and the heads of executive departments and their agencies and bureaus.
Except for the White House staff, the individuals in charge of agencies and departments are appointed by the president, subject to approval by the Senate. The president nominates all officials, administrative or judicial, who are not civil-service employees. The Constitution gives the president the power to grant reprieves and pardons to persons convicted of crimes against the United States. This power is denied only in the case of an individual convicted on impeachment. The president exercises far-reaching powers in the conduct of foreign policy.
In most cases he acts through the secretary of state and the Department of State. The president negotiates treaties, mostly through subordinates. These are subject to confirmation by a two-thirds vote in the Senate. He nominates ambassadors, ministers, and consuls to represent the United States abroad. He takes the lead in recognising new regimes or withholding official recognition. Closely related to his foreign policy authority is the president’s role as commander in chief of all the armed forces.
He appoints all commissioned officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. During wartime he may become involved in planning strategy. Proper functioning of the government depends in great measure on the president’s relations with Congress. It is his responsibility to keep Congress informed of the need for new legislation. He must also submit an annual budget for all the government expenditures. The departments and agencies are required to send Congress periodic reports of their activities and members of departments and agencies are often required to testify before committees of Congress on matters of pending legislation or other issues. In times of war or other national crisis, Congress usually grants the president emergency powers. These powers include the authority to issue orders regulating most phases of national life and the war effort, to organise special agencies of government, and to make appointments without confirmation.
In normal times, as well as during emergencies, Congress may pass laws establishing a policy but leaving the details to be worked out by the Executive Office. The president then publishes an executive order that has the force of law. The only official duty of the vice-president is to preside over the Senate, though he does not take part in its deliberations. He casts a deciding vote in case of a tie. In the president’s absence he presides over meetings of the Cabinet. Originally there were no candidates for this office.
The man receiving the second-largest number of votes for president became vice-president. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes, and the House of Representatives had to decide between the two candidates. After 36 ballots Jefferson became president and Burr vice-president. As the party system developed, separate candidates were nominated for each office on the same ticket. THE JUDICIARY This is the body charged with enforcing laws and, in some states, upholding the constitutional rules.
This includes the Supreme Court and State courts. The Constitution is a written document whose words cannot be changed except by the process of amendment. But the meaning of the words is not always interpreted in the same way by members of opposing political parties or by persons engaged in lawsuits over property or human rights. Thus it has been necessary for someone to interpret it–that is, to determine what it means in any controversy. This duty is entrusted to the Supreme Court.
It provides that the Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme law of the land. The Supreme Court therefore has two kinds of duties: one, to decide cases of law; the other, to decide what the Constitution means. Sometimes people who have been dissatisfied with decisions made by the Supreme Court have said that the power to determine the meaning of the Constitution ought to be exercised by Congress; but since a law inconsistent with the Constitution cannot be a valid law, it must not be enforced. Only the court before which the enforcement of such a law comes can easily make the decision. The Separation of Powers In American states, members of all three branches are commonly elected directly by voters. The federal government does not have an elected judiciary; judges are appointed and can be removed only under most unusual circumstances. The interdependence of the three branches is secured by what is obverse of the separation of powers, namely the checks and balances system as mentioned earlier.
The separation of powers is important in a political system. Montesquieu truly believed this, he says when legislative power is united with executive power in a single person or a single body of magistracy, there is no liberty, because one can fear that the same monarch or senate that makes tyrannical laws will execute them tyrannically. Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separate from legislative power and from executive power. If it were joined to legislative power, the power over the life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislator. If it were joined to the executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor. The prime concern of Montesquieu was to avoid the access of political power, which might occur if too much power was concentrated into the hands of one area of government.
But the separation of power in the United States is incomplete. Here are a few examples of how the separation of powers in the American political system is incomplete: ? The political system of the USA is, in reality, is dominated by the president, who as the focus of popular attention can appeal to the public directly in a way that the other elements of the system cannot. ? Congress can pass a bill, but the President can prevent it from becoming a law by vetoing it. Should the president veto a bill, it may be enacted over his veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses. Failure to re-pass in either house kills it. If a bill is not signed or returned by the president, it becomes law after ten working days.
If the president does not return a bill and Congress has adjourned in the meantime, however, the bill does not become law. This procedure is called a pocket veto. Bills introduced in either house are first sent to the committee having jurisdiction over them. A committee can kill a bill, bury it, or amend it. If the bill is reported favourably out of committee, it is sent to the floor of the respective house for debate and passage–with or without amendments.
A bill passed by one house is sent to the other for consideration. There it may be passed intact, it may be amended and passed, or it may be defeated. If one house does not accept the version of a bill passed by the other house, the bill is sent to a conference committee composed of members of both houses. After final passage the bill is signed by the speaker of the House and the vice-president (who is the presiding officer of the Senate) and sent to the president for his signature. If the bill does become law, it is subject to interpretation by the courts, which decide its actual application to specific cases. The courts may even declare the law to be unconstitutional, thus setting it aside.
However, the judicial interpretation may, in turn, be overruled if Congress enacts legislation that overcomes the courts objections to the earlier law. ? Committees of each house are controlled by the political party that has a majority of members in that house. Appointments to committees are mostly based on seniority. The ranking, or most senior, member normally becomes chairman. In addition to its committee and lawmaking activities, Congress also exercises a general legal control over all government employees.
It may also exercise political control through the Senate’s power of approving presidential nominations. Congress cannot remove officials from office except by its power of impeachment. In an impeachment proceeding the House acts as a grand jury, gathering evidence and securing an indictment. The Senate then becomes the court in which the case is tried. There has only been one complete presidential impeachment proceeding in American history–that of Andrew Johnson–and he was acquitted. A bill of impeachment was voted against Richard M.
Nixon, but he resigned before a Senate trial could begin. ? The president can appoint a judge to a Federal court, but the appointment is subject to approval of the Senate, and a judge, like the president himself, may be impeached and, if convicted, removed from office by a procedure involving the two houses of congress. ? If a member of an executive branch fails to perform some act that a citizen feels is his legal duty, the citizen may ask a court to issue an order requiring the official to perform his duty. ? If congressional leaders are dissatisfied with the way in which an executive agency is administered, they may conduct an investigation that may cause the policies of the agency to be altered, either because of resulting new legislation, or because of the glaring headlines concerning the agency. An investigation may also be conducted by a federal grand jury or, in certain circumstances, by a Federal judge. The checks and balances system is based on the idea that in a democracy no one person or institution should ever be able to gain absolute power and control, and the best way to prevent this from happening is to have each officeholder hold some power over other officeholders. But this is not complete in the American political system, as we have seen the ability of different parts of the political system are able to check one another, i.e.
the government can veto a bill from congress, congress can impeach the President. Therefore I conclude that the separation of powers in the American political system is incomplete. Political Science.