The United States of America (USA) is a federal constitutional republic that was founded in 1776 following the legal separation of the thirteen colonies from the empire of Great Britain and the subsequent declaration of their independence. Over the years, the US has been successful in the establishment and sustenance of democracy based on liberty due to the adherence to the rule of law. The principle of separation of powers is among the most pivotal aspects of the Constitution. This paper analyzes the power relationships between the three arms of the government. It also examines bureaucracy within the government. It highlights the most significant powers and describes the constraints of the powers of these three branches. Moreover, the essay looks into the interaction between all the arms of the government and evaluates the effectiveness of this process. Finally, it offers some adjustments that should be made to improve the system and the efficiency of the institutions.
One of the chief reasons behind the stability of the political system in the United States of America is the fact that the Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances catering for itself and, by extension, the government. The national government consists of the three principle branches that are partly independent and partly reliant on the functions of the rest. Each arm has powers and functions that regulate the operations of the other through the principles of separation of powers. As a matter of fact, the Constitution of the United States was intentionally made inefficient for this cause. It is inefficient in the sense that it compels the respective arms to be accountable to each other. It is designed with the aim of denying the majority excess to power to rule with an iron fist. Based on the experience of subjects of the tyrannies at the time of its formulation, the developers of the Constitution decided not to give the respective arms of the government unchecked power. This provision ensures that no branch usurps excessive powers. It also makes sure that none of the arms gets overwhelmed by the functions assigned to it (Corlonel University Law School, 2015).
The legislative branch checks the executive power of the government in various ways. For one, the Congress has the power to overrule the veto of the executive arm made by the President. If the former manages to acquire a two-thirds majority vote in a rejection process regarding any policy introduced by the President, then it is overruled. Similarly, the Senate may impeach the President through a majority vote, if the latter proves to be incompetent. Additionally, the former is charged with the responsibility of approving all presidential appointments such as federal judges, departmental secretaries, as well as the judges of the Supreme Court. The Congress should support the international treaties signed by the President or may otherwise overrule the decision. Furthermore, the legislative branch approves the spending of cash on the governmental projects designed by the executive one. The former keeps the judicial arm of the government in check as well. It sets up the lower courts of the justice system through the appointment of its judges and assigning them duties. Additionally, the Congress makes approvals on the decisions to appoint the judges at all levels. Finally, the legislative branch may decide to pass a vote of impeachment on the judges that perform unsatisfactorily through a two-thirds majority vote.
The executive arm, in its turn, regulates the powers assigned to the legislative one in several ways. The office of the President, as well as the Governors, possesses veto powers. It allows them to reject bills passed by the Congress and National Assemblies by failing to sign them into law. The executive branch may alternatively propose Bills for debate by the legislative institutions. Besides, the President may call the Congress for special sessions. The executive arm also checks the judicial one. The President, with the approval of the Congress, appoints the judges of the Supreme Court (Hamilton, 2010).
The judicial arm of the government is responsible for the interpretation of the laws. It also administers justice in the country. The judicial branch is autonomous and has a level of independence that allows the justice system to prevail without interference from the other arms of the government. For instance, the judges enjoy a tenure of service once they have been appointed with the approval of the Congress, which can only be broken through an impeachment process backed by a two-thirds majority vote by the legislative branch Through the Judicial Review, the judicial arm has the power of examining all the actions of the other two arms of the government. As such, the former may declare the actions unconstitutional and compel their reversals or prompt consequences where necessary (Burgan, 2011).
The principle of separation of powers is a key feature of the functionality of the government. It is safe to conclude that the relationships between the three arms of the government are effective. The level of efficiency can be proved by the stability of the government and the sustenance of the democratic system. The powers and functions of these institutions overlap to the extent of ensuring that the collective responsibilities of the government cannot be compartmentalized. Therefore, there is a continuous competition and struggle for power among the three arms. Finally, the established system of governance based on the separation of powers managed to slow down the rate and pace of change. As visualized by James Madison, the structure has lived up to its expectations. It has prevented the destabilization of the society through preventing making rash decisions formulated and executed from one point of view. Instead, any decision is going through a procedure that ensures that it is well-contemplated before execution (Morone & Kersh, 2013).
Nevertheless, as with any system, there are loopholes within the structure that compromise the effective decision making and execution of policies with careful consideration of the whole society rather than just the ruling majority. Firstly, the impeachment rhetoric, as well as the blocking of executive branch decisions, are tactically used maliciously by the Congress to push forward the agendas and beliefs of their parties with a selfish interest. Notably, the Obama administration has been subject to such efforts by the Republican party which has a majority of the legislative seats such as in the appointment of the Supreme Court judge. The power to impeach should be reserved for usage in the cases of high crimes and gross mistakes. The Congress, which has been assigned the function of regulating interstate expenditures, uses this power to stop most executive arm actions. The legislative branch blocks the moves attempted by the government with the pretext of regulating commerce. There should be a clear and concise manner in which the control of budget is attained, stating when the clause in the Constitution should be activated and when it should not.
In conclusion, the United States of America recognizes the Constitution as the supreme law of the country. The nation has two levels of governance, namely the national government and state governments. The latter are the smaller political units that form the United States. They are signatories of the Declaration of Independence and operate autonomously. They have the power to make and execute reforms as long as the changes do not contradict the federal laws or go against the national goals and the rule of law. The federal government is separated into three arms including the executive, legislative, and judicial ones. These branches of the government act independently with differentiated functions assigned to each of them. However, they are all dependent on one another and the subsequent decisions to ensure the proper and smooth running of the government in service to the people and for the achievement of the greater good. The legislative branch makes the laws. The executive arm implements them and formulates policies. The judicial branch interprets the laws and administers justice.