When the writers of the Constitution developed our plan of government, one concept they supported was the idea of a separation of powers. The writers of the Constitution wanted to have three branches or parts of government. They were very concerned about one part of government having too much power. To deal with this concern, the system of separation of powers was developed.
With the system of separation of powers, each branch has a specific function. No branch can do it all under this system. The legislative branch has the responsibility of making laws. At the federal level, this is our Congress that consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The executive branch has the job of carrying out the laws. The President is the head of this branch of government. The judicial branch has the job of interpreting what the laws mean. This is the job of our courts.
Thus, the legislative branch can’t carry out laws or interpret laws. The legislative branch must be very careful when developing laws. The laws must be worded very clearly to do the things Congress intended for them to do.
Under the system of checks and balances, no branch can survive by itself. Each branch must work together in order for our government to function smoothly. This system helps to ensure no branch of government has too much power.