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KATIE ZERR: Balance of power protects our rights

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”- James Madison, the Federalist Papers.
U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds wrote in his column this week about the how the founding fathers created our system of government in order to prevent one branch from becoming too powerful.
He said our nation is protected by this system created to balance the power of government.
The system allows each branch of government certain “checks” in order to ensure the power of the nation remains balanced between the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
The Founding Fathers were well acquainted with the tyranny of government after living under absolute power. They felt the greatest threat to our young nation was the balance of power shifting to one of the three branches of government. This component of our government was created to keep the citizens of this nation from suffering the same fate as our forefathers did before coming to America.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that the principle and spirit of the Constitution is the separation of the power of the three branches of government. The creators of the Constitution knew a just and fair government must divide power between various branches in order for their neophyte republic to survive.
They gave Congress the power of the purse; the Senate confirmation power of federal judges; the Supreme Court power to find presidential actions or laws unconstitutional; and through the Constitution, Congress the power to check the Supreme Court; and so on.
Somewhere along the line we have strayed from this delicate balance. Since the 19th century, the power of the executive branch of government has grown stronger through partisan government. It has become controversial for Congress to use their checks and balances against the power of the executive branch. The power to override a veto or reject federal appointees has shifted from protecting our republic to being viewed as disloyalty to our country or to a party.
The need to protect our laws and see that they are faithfully executed is no longer the prime directive on the Hill.
Our right to certain liberties is fragile as it is. To allow the shift of the balance of power is dangerous. For more than two centuries scholars have written about the need to preserve the balance of power to avoid losing our liberties and the power granted to us through the Constitution.
We need to once again become reacquainted with and preserve the power of the people in our government and not let our nation be ramrodded into allowing the checks and balances of the republic to be shifted in favor of the executive branch.
Benjamin Franklin, 1776, told members of the assembled representative that allowing laws to favor one part or the other in government leads to oppression and mistaken policy. Only the dispensation of protection will allow the people of our nation to enjoy the privileges and rights of this nation.
Our founding fathers were intuitive enough to see what can happen when we the people allow the checks and balances of our nation to be eroded by the shift of power. Sen.Rounds writes about not allowing the concertation of power to be in the hands of a few people. This must apply to all those in government.
Sen. Rounds and other members of our Congress must allow the system to work. We must let our representatives know the people still have a say in government. We need to push the members of Congress to preserve the balance of power in order to preserve our republic.
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicial in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self–appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison, 1788.