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In the system of separation of power, each branch has its own role in the process of effecting a law. The legslative creates it, the judicial approves it if it's constitutional, and the executive enforces to make sure people abide by the law.

My books says:

The writers of the Constitution felt that different officials with different powers might pool their authority.

But should the three branches pool or combine their power to make a legislature complete when they all agree on it?

Is checks and balances for things other than law-making?

  • I am not sure I see the link between your quote and your question, could you provide a bit more context? – Relaxed Sep 18 '15 at 7:17
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The founders were very afraid of a powerful central government (and living in a time when it had a very different role than today) and many features of the US constitution were designed to rein it in. In that sense, none of this is strictly speaking “needed” and other countries are doing just fine with a loose separation of power or fewer check-and-balances.

See also Why is the role of the US president not more closely linked to the House of Representatives? for a related issue.

But note that talking about check-and-balances only makes sense if you have some separation of power in the first place.

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I believe you're talking about the checks and balances that are functions of the US Senate so I will base my answer on that.

The senate has two representatives from each state, no matter how small the state is, this is equal representation, as opposed to the proportional representation in the House of Representatives, Senators also have longer terms than other governmental positions. This is because the founders intended for the senate to be the more "grown up" part of the government, their role is to oversee the rest of the government and basically just make sure they don't do anything stupid or insane.

As such, the senate is required by the constitution to oversee a lot of important decisions made by the other branches of government. These checks and balances in the senate are designed to allow the senate to balance the power of the other branches and prevent anyone from abusing their powers or gaining too much power.

Basically, the founders were extremely paranoid about corrupt government officials and didn't believe it was enough to just separate the powers and checks and balances in the senate are the reason they're able to do things like impeaching the president for acting illegally.

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