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Lesson 3, 2014 II


Lesson Three Constitution The framers of the Constitution knew that accumulation of all powers in the same hands would result in tyranny. In their effort to prevent tyranny and to form a more

perfect union, they undertook to separate the legislative, the executive and the judicial powers in the first three articles of the Constitution. But, knowing equally well that an absolute separation would only impair the effective function of the government, they also rejected a total separation of powers. The result was a “government of separated institutions sharing powers”, whose structure incorporated the concept of checks and balances. Within this structure, the departments are formally separated and each was assigned certain core functions, but their functions are also mingled and blended. The separate governmental departments are independent from one another, yet they exercise a mutual control function in order to prevent a misuse of power.

Checks and Balances of 3 Branches 制衡 Examples: Congress can legislate, but statutes enter into force after they have been signed by the president or at the time specified in them. If vetoed by the president, a statute must be passed anew by a two-thirds majority in houses before it enters into force. (the real situation- the Congress will consider it.) As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president may dispatch troops abroad, but only Congress can declare war and authorize the necessary finances. The president appoints judges, with the approval of the Senate, but the laws made by Congress and signed by the president are subject to judicial review.

What is Judicial Review? Judicial review: Remarkably, the power of judicial review is not given to the Supreme Court in the Constitution itself. Article Ⅲ states that “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish,” and it extends that power to “all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution” and to other categories. Although not specifically authorized in Article Ⅲ, some form of judicial review was presumably envisioned by framer of the Constitution. This case did more than validate (i.e., give legal force to) the judicial review of legislative and executive enactments and orders.

Article III, Section 2 (US Supreme Court) While primarily an appellate court, the Court does have original jurisdiction over some cases. In all Cases affecting ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, or two or more States are involved, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction. – P266 涉及大使、公使和领事以及一州为一方当事人的一切案件,最高法院有初审管辖权。对上述 所有其他案件,不论法律方面还是事实方面,最高法院有上诉管辖权,但须依照国会所规定 的例外和规章。 Preamble (US Constitution) We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 我们合众国人民,为建立更完善的联邦,树立正义,保障国内安宁,提供共同防务,促进公 共福利,并使我们自己和后代得享自由的幸福,特为美利坚合众国制定本宪法。


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