Best 15 quotes in «separation of powers quotes» category

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    In any event, one must consider the broader implications of a frontal assault on the separation of powers as outdated, ineffective, and unaccountable. The assault calls into question core aspects of the Constitution, and it offers in their place a vision of firm and unified governmental management. What does this approach sacrifice? Ultimately, a number of fundamental values are threatened. At the most basic level, the argument overlooks the importance of deliberation, dialogue, and debate involving the institutions of U.S. government and the public.

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    If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

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    Separation of powers is a problem for foreign policy.

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    Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.

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    Furthermore, the managerial ethos of parliamentary reformism is in direct tension with important values associated with the dialogue that attends our system of checks and balances. The term "parliamentary reform" should not be allowed to cloud the fact that the critics advance a highly pro-executive position that would seek a strong government primarily by undercutting the independence of Congress.

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    Given the religious nature of the Middle Eastern culture, how might a Middle Eastern democracy [be] structured? Will there be three or four branches of government? Should a religious branch be added to the executive, legislative and judicial branches to ensure that Islamic beliefs and law are followed? A simple answer might be yes, but that is probably not the best means. Ideally, the legislative, executive and judicial bodies should all take Islamic beliefs into consideration when carrying out their duties. As such, there should be no need for a separate religious branch. However, to codify the major tenets of the Islamic faith, they should be represented in the constitution or similar document. This does not mean a theocracy will be established, rather it means that a democracy will be established built upon Islamic beliefs.

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    Inefficiency is to be our safeguard against despotism.

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    In examining the division of powers, as established by the Federal Constitution, remarking on the one hand the portion of sovereignty which has been reserved to the several States, and on the other, the share of power which has been given to the Union, it is evident that the Federal legislators entertained very clear and accurate notions respecting the centralization of government. The United States form not only a republic, but a confederation; yet the national authority is more centralized there than it was in several of the absolute monarchies of Europe....

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    In turning now to the principle of dialogue underlying the Constitution's structure, it is important first to note a basic distinction. The Constitution's structural theory rests on two closely related but nevertheless separate principles: separation of powers and checks and balances. The first principle requires that the branches of government be identifiably discrete. The second assumes that the branches are separate and then concentrates on promoting the checking of each by the others. The task of separation summons forth a "formalist" analysis; it requires formal definitions of some sort to provide the baseline for analysis. The task of checking and balancing is most closely associated with a "functionalist" approach; it requires an awareness of the need to balance the roles and functions of different institutions in determining their appropriate relations.

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    The executive power in our government is not the only, perhaps not even the principal, object of my solicitude. The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared, and will continue to be so for many years to come. The tyranny of the executive power will come in its turn, but at a more distant period.

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    ...I say, that Power must never be trusted without a check.

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    Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

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    The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution.

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    The fundamental idea is that through the separation of powers and checks and balances, different voices—those of the President, the Senate, and the House of Representatives—can be expected to contribute to public debate about the ends and means of national policy. The notions are familiar: the President speaks as the nationally elected voice of the people generally; the Senate represents the states; and the House represents particular constituencies that often have highly local concerns. More generally, the President speaks for the nation, and members of Congress—while being concerned with matters of national import—speak especially for different constituent parts of the nation. This constitutional structure guarantees that diverse perspectives will contribute to dialogue about public policy.

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    We have rule of lawyers, not rule of law. The legal profession has a monopoly over one branch of government as it was never intended to. The American Bar Association owns an entire branch of our government. We should not be surprised that we are the most litigious society in the world. It is big business with a stranglehold on one of the three branches of government.