Federalism and Separation of Power

961 words | 4 page(s)

The purpose of this exploration is to explain the concepts of democracy as well as the representative and constitutional concepts interwoven within republic governmental actions. With specific reference for federalism and the separation of powers, it is evident that the public agenda can articulate disagreements and discrepancies between state and federal powers. After reviewing the article “The State of American Federalism, 2004: Is Federalism Still a Core Value” it is possible to understand how federalism remains significant within the paradigm of contemporary government. These findings can be contrasted to the specific executive powers described within the Constitution. This analysis yields a clear conception of federalism and the separation of power. It is further evident that conceptualizing the separation of power will create a shared understanding of the execution laws often represent.

Federalism has been initiated amongst Courts for years in the United States. This leads to the conclusion that the federal Constitution can be used to influence decisions beyond the powers of individual states. As described in Krane & Koenig’s work (2005) numerous instances of the Court denying states like Kansas the right to relief has culminated in an impression of the court system favoring federalist tenants. For example, Ohio used section 1983 to challenge elements of contemporary parole processes that was an over violation of federalist ideals. The concept of separations of power is also rather diluted in the evidence, indicating that powers and limitations on individual branches can be the motivation behind advances of federalism. The constitution specifically discusses this even though the implementation may be drastically different as demonstrated in Ohio (United States Senate). At a large scale it is evident that American federalism is a decentralized approach even though the parties that it serves are often at its mercy (Krane & Koenig, 2005).

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The concept of separation between powers is myriad and has transformed significantly since the founding of the United States. This concept was promulgated as a method of balancing executive and legislative power. However, the practice of distinguishing these inseparable components has created a shift in the power dynamics of contemporary American Society (Kesler, 2007). Based on this exploration, it seems that while powers are separate from a distance, the complexity of operations within the government leads to a model of more shared power. Since there is a consistent system of checking each branch, it seems that the power is shared while execution is separate and based on individualized ideals.

Presently, bills within Congress are often requiring executive agencies to complete loosely defined tasks. This vagueness contributes to a sense of Congress’s role as a legislative institution being subordinated by its intention to oversee the executive branch. Ultimately the separation of power is not necessarily executed to the degree of certainty and clarity originally perceived. Instead, Congress emphasizes its role as an investigator on the actions of other members of government and can lead to diverse moral and constitutional matters of ethics. Separation of powers was a clear intention of the founding fathers, even though there has been a great deal of confusion in contemporary government abuts this.

The executive branch is subordinate to the legislation that is active at a given time. However, there are copious instances of checks and balancing being used to preserve basic liberties. One example of separation of powers can be seen in Wilson’s writing and delegation of power throughout the past century. In 1912 he identified the reforms that would be necessary to ‘coordinate the organs of life and action’. This system aimed to allow concurrent systems of conduct for Congressmen, Senators and Presidents alike (Kesler, 2007).

Federalism explores the potential for separate but equally powerful branches of government coinciding for the best distribution of power for citizens and legislative processes. National powers incorporate maintenance of military, large-scale services as well as preservation of existing rights. Meanwhile, state powers address similar areas to a lesser degree or with the potential to influence regulatory components. The concept of shared power is not the goal of federalism, even though it is a clear byproduct. In contemporary politics it seems that federalism has been diminished greatly and is no longer at the forefront of importance amongst parties in power. President Bush, for example, ignored components of federalism. His speeches indicated a sense of responsibility and ownership while creating individualized statements about the policy and mission of the United States (Krane & Koenig, 2005).

One insight about this process can be seen through the way that federalism has spread and diminished based on the needs of individual branches of government. The separation of powers in the United States is one mechanism to actively manage the power available to each branch at any given time. However, the efficacy of these processes in contemporary government is limited because of the bureaucratic measures that must be fulfilled in order to make basic progress.

In conclusion, it is clear that federalism and separation of powers are codependent systems within our government today. The major notions of the separation of powers illuminate the way that laws are created and executed throughout contemporary political endeavors. The influence of federalism can be seen in numerous instances as described. Finally, the insight that can be gained from this type of analysis yields a macroscopic perspective on the way that the United States participates in its inherent legal system as an extension of federalism and separation of power from previous generation’s political thought.

  • Krane, D., & Koenig, H. (2005). The State of American Federalism, 2004: Is Federalism Still a Core Value?. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 35(1), 1-40.
  • Kesler, P. (2007). What Separation of Powers Means for Constitutional Government. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 21 September 2015, from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/12/what-separation-of-powers-means-for-constitutional-government
  • United States Senate. (n.d.). The Constitution of the United States. Retrieved fromhttp://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm

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