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A Thought about the 'Separation of Power'

"Today’s “separation of powers” is no longer between the three original, constitutionally created, branches of government, but between, on the one hand, a branch consisting of the president, his supporters in Congress and their mutual supporters on the federal bench; and on the other hand, a branch made up of the party in opposition to the president, his opponents in Congress and their co-partisans on the bench.

"America’s Founders recognized the truth in Hobbes’ declaration that governments were needed to prevent abuses of the weak by the powerful. But they recognized that government, too, would need to be prevented from committing its own abuses—hence the need for the sometimes frustrating but nonetheless necessary divisions of authority between the state and federal governments and between the branches of the federal government. That is the system described in the Constitution and the system I taught. But it is not the system by which America operates today—a persistent war between competing political clubs.

"I taught my students a system of government based on the Constitution. I thought I was teaching about current events. Instead, I now realize, I was teaching ancient history."

~ Mickey Edwards

Source: his February 27, 2017 column, "We No Longer Have Three Branches of Government," Politico Magazine.

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In American government, "Separation of powers . . . refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.  The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances." (National Conference of State Legislatures).

Mickey Edwards, Republican, served eight terms in Congress, 1977-1993. He also chaired the House Republican Policy Committee. "After leaving office in 1993, he taught government for 13 years at Harvard and Princeton, and became a vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs a political leadership program."

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