) What is federalism and how is it important? Federalism is the federal, or national, principle or system of government. It is a system of government in which powers are apportioned between a national, central government and regional governments such as states and local governments. The United States Constitution created federalism. Federalism includes delegated or express powers that belong solely to the federal government such as coining money, declaring war, paying debts, raising an army, punishing pirates, establishing a postal service, and foreign policy under Article I.
“Express powers are powers given to Congress that are spelled out in the Constitution (Hames & Ekert, 2010, p. 17). Express powers given to the federal government would consist of actions such as printing money, regulating commerce, making foreign treaties, and declaring war. States also have power that are exclusive to their government. They would be things such as issuing licenses like marriage, driving, or business, regulating in-state commerce, establishing schools, and ratifying the U.S. Constitution. Concurrent powers shared by both the federal and state governments would be things like building highways, setting up courts, collecting taxes, looking after public health and safety, and creating laws.
Instead, Congress often delegates to federal entities authority to craft rules and regulations needed to carry out the mandates of laws. In order to maintain oversight over the entities that Congress grants authority to, Congress has established a requirement to publish a notice in the Federal Register detailing their proposed rules. Interested parties are then allowed a time period to express their concerns over said methods. Although it is not specifically mentioned in the constitution, through all of these rights, Congress holds an inherent oversight role over the bureaucracy. The role flows from Congress’ power to make laws, raise and appropriate funds, give advice and consent to executive nominations, and impeach federal officials.
It grants the three separate branches the powers to create, execute, and interpret yet throughout the document it provides means to prevent each branch from overreaching its powers or encroaching upon other branches ' powers. When the colonies separated from Great Britain following the Revolution, the founders really liked the idea of the separation of powers to prevent any one branch from becoming too strong and becoming tyrannical. However, the concept of checks and balances was not favored because it was drawn from Great Britain and therefore not expressly stated in the Constitution. Checks and balances are required to make sure the separation of power remains constant and no branch of government can overpower the other. The Legislative branch makes the law, the Executive branch executes that law and the Judicial branch interprets the law; therefore each branch has an effect on the other.
The Three Branches of the Federal Government There are three branches of the federal government, the executive, the judicial, and the legislative. The executive branch consists of such people as the president, the cabinet, and the executive offices of the president. The executive branch is known for enforcing laws created by the legislative branch. The judicial branch entails the United States Supreme Court and the Federal Judiciary. The judicial branch must review the laws the executive branch is to enforce.
The Tenth Amendment of the United States of America gives power to the states, without specifically listing them. This amendment delegates powers into three groups. The first group, is the power of the national government which is given to the national government by the Constitution. These powers are not held by the states, and are strictly reserved for the national government. The Constitution also prohibits certain powers from the states, and these prohibited powers are listed throughout the document as well.
One branch may do one thing, while the other can override it. The Legislative power is made up of Congress of the United States that have both Senate and House of Representatives. They can write and pass laws and taxes. They can declare war and set budgets to raise, fund and maintain during the time period. Congress also has the authority to prescribe the laws and regulations in the Uniform Code of Military Justice which the armed forces function with.
When a conflict of jurisdiction arises between federal law and state law, the supremacy clause comes into action. Under the United States Constitution, the Federal Government has the ability to make laws regarding expressed powers. Expressed powers are powers given to Congress by the United States Constitution that allow them to regulate federal matters such as the coining of monies, the post office or the military. They also have the power to make laws that are related to an expressed power, known as implied powers. This means that Congress can only pass laws with the power that is provided to them in the U.S.
There is also the federal court system where judges are nominated by the president then confirmed by the Senate. These courts include: the 94 district courts, Tax court, Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Court of Claims, and Court of Military Appeals. With most courts of the United States, juries are the ones who decide whether one is guilty or not. The constitution calls for the creation of the Supreme Court and leaves the responsibility of creating the inferior courts to Congress. The Canadian provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick signed the Constitution Act of 1867, which made Canada its own country.
The principle of the separation of powers is the ‘division of state and federal government into three independent branches’ . This divides the governmental power between the three divisions of the constitution, ensuring the state power is equal and is not violated by an individual branch. In concurrence with the principle of constitutionalism, separation of powers also ‘limits the power of the state’ . The separation of powers also specifies that the legislative, executive and judicial functions of the government should all be separate. ‘In a nation which has political liberty as the direct object of its constitution no one person or body of persons ought to be allowed to control the legislative, executive and judicial powers, or any two of them’ .