Examples of Checks And Balances
Table of Contents
A checks and balances system in government was set up to guarantee the even distribution of power among the branches of government. The United States constitution framers (those who wrote Constitution) set up a system that shares power among the three branches of the United States government; these branches are:
- The Legislature
The Constitution was also written to control and limit the use of power in each branch of government.
The Legislature is a group of elected persons who have been charged with the responsibility of making and changing the laws governing a country.
The Executive is that branch of government that enforces and implements laws made and passed by the legislature.
This is the branch of government that executes justice by the law. The judiciary encompasses the judges, courts, adjudicators (those who settle conflicts), magistrates, and those involved in the system. In the courts, defaulters are punished, and disputes and conflicts are also settled.
What are Checks and Balances?
Checks and balances is a system to ensure equal distribution of governmental powers. There are processes each branch needs to follow to guard against fraudulent practices, illegal actions and mistakes. These processes are shared equally so that no branch wills more power than the other. Virtually all the countries in the world have a Checks and balances system.
The thought that a fair and just government should divide powers between the branches of government has historical and philosophical roots. Polybius, a Greek historian and statesman, while analyzing the government of Rome, identified it as a mixed “ rigime” which has three branches namely;
- Aristocracy (senate)
- Democracy (the masses)
- Monarchy (chief magistrate or consul)
Baron de Montesquieu, an Enlightenment philosopher, later wrote of authoritarianism as the main threat to any government. He contended that the best way to preclude this threat was through the separation of powers, where various components of government exercised legislative, executive and judicial power while subjecting to the rule of law.
United States Checks and Balances System
The former United States Constitution split the federal government’s powers while building on the thoughts of John Locke, Polybius, and William Blackstone, among the three branches of government. The framers also established a Checks and balances system to help protect against tyranny by controlling the use of power by any of the three branches of government.
Examples of Checks And Balances
The checks and balances system functions throughout the United States government by checking how each branch exerts certain powers, which can be checked by the powers willed to the other two branches.
We will look at nine (9) examples of checks and balances used to control the use of power in each branch of government.
• The federal officials are nominated by the president, after which the Senate will do the confirmation of the nomination.
• As soon as the congress has passed the bill, the president, who is also the chief executive, has the power to veto or reject the bill. The congress, in turn, will now nullify, overrule, or reverse a regular presidential veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses.
• Congress has the authority and power of the purse as it controls the money used in funding executive actions.
• The head of the executive branch, in the person of the president serves as the Grand Commander in Chief of The Military Forces, though it is the congress that reserves funds for votes and military to declare war.
• The courts, both Supreme and other federal courts which fall under the judicial branch of government, through the judicial review can declare presidential elections or laws which are not in the constitution.
• The congress can check effectively, the decision of the Supreme Court by passing amendments to the constitution.
• The congress has the power to impeach both members of the judiciary and executives.
• Each house of congress within the legislative branch of government checks on possible abuses of power by the other. The Senate and the House of Representatives must pass the bill in the same form before it can be accepted as law.
• The president, in turn, checks the judiciary through appointment, which can be used to change the direction of federal courts.
Do you have any question or comment on Examples of Checks And Balances? You can use the comment section to drop your message and we will get back to you.