The Founding Fathers legacy which they left on what is now the constitution of the United States has not been followed to the letter over time. To will a people to do something through legislating it is one thing while to have the people carry out the instructions to the letter is another. Cases have happened where, wither knowingly or through wrong interpretation of the powers one is supposed to wield have conflicted.
The Founding Fathers wished to lay the framework that would ensure that the respective branches of the government would work together to uphold the rule of law and justice, checking on the excesses of the other but over time this has not been achieved partly when one branch has tried to strong arm the other. The relevant measures of checking the over zealousness of the other have been watered down at times, with respective arms failing to rise to the occasion to impose their convictions especially where there has been a breach of power in.
This has happened when vested interests have led congress failing to check on the presidency especially through lobbying by the executive. Divisions in Congress have derailed or halted proceedings which would have led to impeachment when members of congress have voted along party lines instead of upholding the truth and voting to the best interests of the people of the United States of America.
Impeachment in the United States is only applied where the president is accused of criminal actions. If he has failed to execute his duties it is not possible to impeach him as matters such as political party allegiance tie the hands of those who are supposed to do the impeaching. This means that the Executive can go on even if there is a weak presidency, which does not translate into the best interests of the United States being upheld (Goldwin, 1986, P.. 95).
The list of who is who is lengthy but as happens amongst men, there were ten first among equals, gentlemen whose contributions heralded the landmarks that shape the great Nation the United States of American is today. The founders concerns were on how the distribution of powers was to be effected in the constitution so that in future no arm of the government could run rogue and override the others in matters concerning the governing of men, hence they put checks and measures in the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary arms of the government.
Above all, the task of each is to ensure that justice was meted to each person with the law being upheld. This seems not to have worked as the founding fathers formulated partly due to the excesses of the Executive now and then. The executive has from time to time seized loopholes to go beyond their boundary in the execution of executive authority over the years, at times being checked by congress but the two thirds majority which is required for Congress to veto the Executive has at most times flopped due to vested interests and voting along party lines.
The congress is supposed to be the leading light of reason as far as the running of the Nation is concerned but this at times has been overshadowed by an Executive that is savvy. The current president of the United States, Barrack Obama is known to influence congressional debate by calling over wavering opponents and ensuring they vote according to his will by the sheer power of Oratory conviction. This might not be construed as overstepping the boundaries but as a means of ensuring that Congress votes according to his wish.
As pertains to congress versus the Presidency, the founding fathers enacted a situation where the two centers of power would act as a check for each other, but over time their dream has not been followed to the letter following.
This has happened when the Presidency has sought to assert its authority over the other checks and balances or when, out of undue events, the laws have been bent to allow for a special extension of powers as happened during the Second World War when Roosevelt was allowed to be president for more than two terms.
When writing the constitution the founding fathers had in mind that the constitution alone cannot lord over men, the same men who were to be tasked with upholding the tenets entrenched in the constitution. The oath the president makes, above all, is to protect the Constitution of the United States above all else, to abide within the frame of the constitution in his execution of duties (Monk, 2005).
That upholding the constitution is based upon interpretation of the same constitution has led to Presidents taking stanches that have been challenged by sections of the populace on their application. Take President Bush and the Guantamano Bay affair. When it was not possible to hold and torture suspects in the United States, he opted to use Guantamano to propagate his fight against terrorism. By circumventing the constitution where every citizen has a right to a fair trial Bush overrode congress to pursue his own agenda to fight terrorism in arcane ways.
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This is not to say that the Constitution has not been upheld. The executive is charged with upholding, and seeing the execution of what is within the limits of the constitution, which has led to different stands being adopted by different leaders to address arising situations. The gap is more pronounced along party lines, the republicans of late being more warlike unlike the Democrats who are destined to pursue dialogue avenues to solve issues.
Aspects where Executive power is seen to try to override the constitution is in cases where the election of supreme judges is not merely on merit but political conviction, where the probability of a judge voting along the tenets of the political party which he is seen to favor lands one a seat in that house of authority. This has led to cases like the one where William Rehnquist excused himself from ruling on the Nixon impeachment case as he had associated with the president before. This is against the Jefferson draft of 1776 that sought to ensure that the appointing of people to any of the three arms of the government were not to be used to appoint across the arms, I.e. The Executive is not supposed to appoint members of the Judiciary or Congress.
The separation of powers has been put to the test when there have been strong presidents in office who saw it within their power to overstep the set barriers. A case such as that is in 1952 during the Korean War when the then president, Harry S. Truman saw it within his power to sieve the mills of striking workers who had gone on strike in protest against the war.
Even after the Supreme Court ruled against him, he was adamant about the idea, but his waywardness was put in check by the Congress (Linder, 2010). The Bush and Cheney administration has also been on the spotlight of having gone overboard by acting to what is termed as overstepping of its powers in the execution of its duties. The administration is termed to have used the logic that it could do all that which was not laid down in the constitution although it breached the rights of the people.
The two thirds majority that congress needs to override the presidential veto has failed to work on numerous occasions as politicians have aligned themselves with the presidency on numerous occasions which has led to the president not being put under check by Congress for the good of the American people in general.
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The checks and balances that are applied by the arms of the government still ensure that undue show of power by one arm does not occur but that does not translate to mean that one arm has not tried to overstep its boundaries once in a while.
However, where such cases have occurred have been rectified before they spilt out of proportion and we can say that the oldest written constitution of Earth, which is that of the United States, has been used to protect the rights of the majority over time.
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