Three Branches of Government

Three Branches of Government

The Constitution allocated different powers to each of three branches of the government, in a manner that produces more moderate policy decisions through a system of checks and balances. The U.S. Constitution has adopted this separation of powers approach for the integrated resolution of policy controversies that can occur frequently among the branches.

For example, the president of the United States can order troops into foreign territory for combat, Congress can declare war, and the courts can order equal rights in the workplace. These decisions can be done independently of the other branches of government under the Constitutional provisions of the separation of powers. Each branch of government is considered coequal, and the Constitutional provisions created checks and balances to ensure each branch is operating within its proper jurisdiction and no branch has ultimate power. In regards to the creation and execution of law and public policy, each branch of government has its own role and responsibility.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review the Constitution in Appendix E of the course text, Administrative Law and Politics: Cases and Comments. Consider the powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
  • Review Chapter 4 in the course text, Administrative Law and Politics: Cases and Comments. Pay attention to the law of the separation of powers.
  • Review Chapter 3 in the course text, Administrative Law and Politics: Cases and Comments. Think about how powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are used and limited in the creation and execution of law and public policy.
  • Review the article, “Public Administrative Theory and the Separation of Powers.” Think about how the roles of the three branches of government impact the creation and execution of law and public policy.
  • Review the Web site, “Separation of Powers.” Think about the cases of encroachment and the impact on the case outcomes and policies.
  • Consider your position on whether the encroachment of one branch of government on another is necessary in the creation and/or execution of law and public policy and why.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

  • Explain how constitutional provisions provide a legal basis for what the three branches of government can and cannot do in the creation and execution of law and public policy. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your explanation.
  • Explain your thoughts as to whether the encroachment of one branch of the government on another is necessary in the creation and/or execution of law and public policy and why. Be specific

Readings

  • Course Text: Harrington, C. B., & Carter, L. H. (2015). Administrative law and politics: Cases and comments(5th ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press.
    • Chapter 4, “The Statutory Authority of Agencies”
    • Chapter 3, “The Constitutional Authority of Agencies”
    • Chapter 10, “Judicial Review” (pp. 315-317)
    • Appendix E, “The Constitution of the United States”
  • Article: Bailey, M. A. & Maltzman, F. (2008). Does legal doctrine matter? Unpacking law and policy preferences on the U.S. Supreme Court. American Political Science Review, 102(3), 369–384.
  • Article: Funk, W. F. (1997). To preserve meaningful judicial review. (Symposium: The future of the American administrative process). Administrative Law Review, 49(1), 171–178.
  • Article: Rosenbloom, D. H. (1983). Public administrative theory and the separation of powers. Public Administration Review, 43(3), 219–227.Click here for directions on how to access the database articles.
  • Course Handout: Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy – Resources

Web Site

Optional Resources

  • Article: Bernstein, D. E. (2003). Lochner era revisionism, revisited. Lochner and the origins of fundamental rights constitutionalism. Georgetown Law Journal, 92(1), 1–60.
  • Article: Great Neck Publishing (2009). The Constitution of the United States 1787, Great Neck Publishing, 18.
  • Article: Hamilton, L. (2006). The hard truth of writing laws. State Legislatures, 32(2), 17.
  • Article: Stephenson, M. C. (2003). “When the devil turns…”: The political foundations of independent judicial review. Journal of Legal Studies32, 59–8 9.

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