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Blobman's avatar

Equality in the three branches of the US government?

Asked by Blobman (516points) March 4th, 2010

I’m not going to lie, this is for my term paper. But I am only using it to gather opinions on the subject.

“Are all three branches of the US government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) currently equal in power?”
I know the Constitution made them to be equal and I know about the separation of powers and the checks and balances. But, you’ve go to admit that in current times they are not entirely equal.

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20 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

No. Executive branch has way more power. I think it is also important to consider the amount of power concentrated at the federal level compared to the state, county, city levels.

Blobman's avatar

thanks lilikoi
and there is also the “bully pulpit” factor

ShiningToast's avatar

The Executive Branch has the most power, because of the power of Veto, Pocket Veto, and Executive order (among other things).

Veto allows the President to stop any Bills in Congress that he doesn’t like. Pocket Veto is basically the same thing. He just ignores the Bill long enough, and it expires and goes away. It’s like using a veto, but with out him actively doing anything.

Executive Orders let him make laws without Congress’s approval.

I’m aware that there are loopholes and little rules that go with each of these things, but that’s what Wikipedia is for. ;)

He also gets to:
-Spend the $ Congress has allotted.
-Create treaties.
-Appoint Judges (with consent of the Senate).
-Grant pardons.
-Be boss of the armed forces.

PacificRimjob's avatar

The founders understood the importance of balance between the branches.

Obama is shamelessly manuvering to grow the influence of the executive branch.

filmfann's avatar

@PacificRimjob You’re insane. Bush did this to a degree never seen before. Obama is pulling back.

Blobman's avatar

@ filmfann & PacificRimjob Now now children settle down, no need to fight about personal opinions.

@ShiningToast Actually there are several places where you’re wrong. The Senate can override the President’s veto with a ⅔ vote, but I’m not sure about a pocket veto. He also needs ⅔ consent of the Senate to make treaties. And I don’t believe that laws can be made by Executive Order.

Nullo's avatar

I don’t think that the distribution of powers should be equal. Different purposes and what.
I don’t like the idea of presumably law-making activist judges, for instance – their purpose is to judge laws, not make them. I don’t think that Congress should have much say in running a war; it takes them weeks or months to do anything, and war is quicker than that.
* gets into a pulpit and bullies @Blobman *

@filmfann He’s doing it all the same, though. His greater crime, however, is the way that he’s trying to grow the Big Government.

thriftymaid's avatar

There was no mandate for “equal.” It is simply a system of checks and balances by having the three branches. So, your discussion is on a moot point.

Blobman's avatar

@thriftymaid The Constitution was created not that long after the Revolution. The Framers wanted the new government to be as different as possible from the British monarchy. There for they devised a way that they thought would ensure that no one person could get to powerful. They made sure that each branch of government could “check” or “balance” the other branches.

@Nullo The President can take the country to war without Congress’s consent, but only for about ninety days, then it needs Congress to keep it going.

Cruiser's avatar

“K” Street has more power than all 3 put together. Google it.

thriftymaid's avatar

@Blobman That is what I said. However, the constitution does not call for equal power among the branches. The questioner is trying to incorrectly impose some equality standard among the branches.

Nullo's avatar

@Blobman That’s where the “much” part of “much say” comes in. They’re not much use when it comes to formulating strategy and the like.

* takes @Blobman‘s lunch money *

ShiningToast's avatar

@Blobman Did you even read my fine print?

“I’m aware that there are loopholes and little rules that go with each of these things, but that’s what Wikipedia is for. ;)” <——- The ⅔ vote you mentioned falls under this. What I was trying to says is you go look up the little rules, like the ⅔ vote because.

About Executive Orders:

“Executive orders do have the full force of law”

Don’t make me do your research for you.

Blobman's avatar

@ShiningToast I’m sorry. I wasn’t asking you to do my research for me. Fluther is for opinions not facts.

@thriftymaid But if the branches are not made to be equal, then why have the checks and balances? Why create such an elaborate plan to keep the branches from gaining uneven power. Do you believe that three branches aren’t needed?

@Nullo But without congress being able to have a say in weather the President is taking the country to war for logical reasons, he could just be doing it for fun or another unlogical reason.

ShiningToast's avatar

@Blobman I’m sorry too. I got a little fired up. :D

Nullo's avatar

I get the feeling that you’re not reading these post. I said that Congress shouldn’t have much say in the matters of war (which is how the law reads now), by which I meant that Congress does the declaring-of-war and the treaty afterwards. This because you need a single leader in wartime, considering the way that Congress manages to paralyze itself with just its day-to-day activity, and anyway politicians don’t make good military strategists.
I’m pretty sure that what the Prez can call for is not called war.

“Because it’s fun” is a perfectly “logical” reason. It’s just not a good reason for going to war.

Blobman's avatar

@ShiningToast Tis OK. I understand.

@Nullo Sorry. guess because this was inspired by a school assignment, I’m not as interested as I could be. Whatever the Prez can call for could certainly start a war though. And I don’t think you’ve actually answered the original question, which branch of government do you think is the most powerful? If you have already answered it then I’m sorry.

Nullo's avatar

I’ll answer directly, just in case.

“Are all three branches of the US government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) currently equal in power?”
No, they are not. They are complementary; you put them together and you (theoretically) have a working whole. They are not equal, and they never should be.

Blobman's avatar

@ everyone

So which one do you believe has more power and which do you believe should have more power?

Nullo's avatar

I would say that Congress officially has the most power, what with the making of laws and declarations of war and what, as is fitting for its position as the body that represents the people. Officially, the President and the Supreme Court basically have the power to terminate laws.
Congress is still the most powerful in real life, but the gulf between powers is not nearly as broad as the paper model would indicate. Between activist judges and bill-introducing Presidents, we’re closer to having Congress and two pseudo-Congressional bodies.

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