Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » The System Of Checks And Balances.

   
Author Topic: The System Of Checks And Balances.
Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-25-2003 03:25 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am not sure where to put this, but I elected to put it in this form because it could come "Too Political." For those members of FT who are living in other countries, it may be helpful for you in helping the understanding on how our country works, and some of the tools that are used to keep it working.

However, I wish I could put it in Film-Yak so more would read it. If, for some reason the moderators could see it fit, I would like to ask them for permission to do so, or if they so desire, they could move it there.

In some of the other forums and threads, I wondered if some us are actually aware of what the system of Checks and Balances are, and how they work to protect our rights. This is a text copy from socialstudieshelp.com:

How does our system of checks and balances help protect our rights?

As we have already seen our Constitution is very much a reaction to the events that came before it. Our founding fathers had several goals, foremost among those goals was to avoid tyranny. In order to do this several different systems were set up to prevent the abuse of power. Federalism was one of these systems. Federalism was designed to balance the power of the national and State governments and thus limit the powers of the national government. Jefferson and others were convinced that state government was closer to the people and thus more democratic.

Another system that was developed was the system of checks and balances. Checks and balances, or the separation of powers, is based upon the philosophy of Baron de Montesquieau. In this system the government was to be divided into three branches of government, each branch having particular powers.

Legislative Branch
Makes the laws

Executive Branch
Enforces and carries out the laws.

Judicial Branch
Interprets the laws

Not only does each branch of the government have particular powers each branch has certain powers over the other branchs. This is done to keep them balanced and to prevent one branch form ever gaining too much power. For example:

Congress may pass laws........but the President can veto them.

The President can veto laws.......but Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote.

The President and Congress may agree on a law..........but the Supreme Court can declare a law unconsitutional.

The President can appoint Judges and other government officials.......but Senate must approve them.

Supreme Court judges have life terms.......but they can be impeached .

As you can see there are many ways (there are many more than listed) that the Constitution balances power. Real life conflicts that test the system have occured throughout history. These checks and balances are used on a regular basis.

After the Civil War President Andrew Johnson vetoed over 20 bills.

After the Civil War Congress overrode overrode over 20 Presidential vetoes!

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, his nomination was defeated.

In 1935 and 1936 the Supreme Court declared the NIRA and then the AAA (two New Deal programs passed during the Roosevelt administration) unconstitutional.

In 1918 Congress refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, a peace treaty ending World War I that President Wilson had worked very hard on.

There are thousands of examples of checks and balances at work. As we continue this year we will examine these and many more.


We are very fortunate indeed to have such a system working for us in the Good Old United States of America. [thumbsup] [thumbsup] [beer] [Smile] [Wink]

 |  IP: Logged

Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 05-26-2003 01:38 AM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If we can discuss seat belt laws, I don't see why we can't toss this over to yak... so long as somebody doesn't turn it into a pissing match -- at which point I'll kick it back over to the Political Forum.

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12090
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-26-2003 12:40 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The concept of checks and balances is indeed a fine one that, like other measures, was designed to keep control over the government(s) of the US.

One area that government continually is abusing is on the income tax. Most Americans probably don't know that income tax was specifically prohibiited to the Federal Government and over half of this country's life was without such a horrible tax. It was brought about due to a war time effort...in order to create the tax, a contitutional ammendment was needed (16th for those of you keeping score at home). The big flaw in the ammendment? It only gave the congress the power to lay and collect taxes. The IRS is the Executive branch...a branch that specifically has not been given the power, by the Constitution, to collect the taxes. Separation of Powers prohibits the one from giving the other the power.

Yet another example where the government has chipped away at the citizen's protection from the government.

Steve

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

Posts: 1836
From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 05-26-2003 12:57 PM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think that I would be less likely to vote for ANYONE ever for congress if they showed up at my doorstep looking for thier taxes.

I somehow doubt that 535 members of congress could actually collect taxes. They do levy them, but they could not possibly collect them. The IRS is responsible to the congress so in reality they are collecting for the congress by proxy, which should be allowed and is allowed.

It seems a throwback to colonial england to have your elected officials toruring you for your taxes. Much better to have a third party to bitch at.

Dave

 |  IP: Logged

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-26-2003 01:45 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve, you have a very good point, and you certainly will not get any arguement from me on it. [Smile]

According to resources, there were 7 states that did not ratify the 16th amendment. Those states were Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia.

This was based on the total of 48 states at the time the ammendment was written, and only 36 states were needed to ratify the amendment. The total number of states that supposedly ratified the amendment was 41. That would make it legal. The amendment was ratified in February 1913.

However, here is one area the stickler comes in:

1. There were 3 states where the amendment was supposedly was not ratified although it was reported it was.
2. There were 6 states where there was missing or incomplete evidence or ratification but was reported as ratified.
3. There were 6 states where the governor or other official's signature was required by the State Constitution, but the governor or official failed to sign it.
4. There were violations of state Constitutions in the ratification process by 25 states.

Several of the states were included in more than one of the above. The chart goes on by "picking the fly specks out of the pepper."

Apparently, the amendment was never ruled unconstitional by the Supreme Court. Realizing no system is or ever will perfect, I still don't know how this particular amendment got so screwed up.

If the statistics of this chart I extracted this information is true, the 16th amendment is really one big hairy mess. Someone really dropped the ball on this one...mildly speaking.

I hate taxes. But I would sooner pay them so there is money to defend our freedom and keep it working rather that to have some funny looking little soldier wearing a funny looking little green suit with a funny looking little green hat coming over here and blasting the hell out us. [Wink]

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12090
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-26-2003 03:10 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul,

I'm well aware about the many problems surrounding the 16th ammendment but I brought it up as an example of how the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances don't always work as they were intended.

As to it not being practical for the 535 members of congress to go door-to-door to collect the taxes they levied....that is not relevent...the constitution that allows the congress to collect the taxes so dictates it...it isn't a choice. The IRS is an executive branch...they have no such power of collection afforded to them...only the constitution can grant them that authority since it was a right of the citizens of the United States to be FREE from federal income tax...until the 16th ammendment. Only the congress was given that power, not the executive branch...and the separation of powers prohibits the sharing or proxying of said powers.

Most Americans don't seem to get that the Declaration of Independance and the Consitution of the US is not about giving the citizens rights...the rights are presummed...they are about the restriction of government. Anarchy was not desired but tirrany was what the revolutionary war was faught over...the people writing those documents were thinking about keeping the government in serious check.

One of the many beauties of the Consitituion of the US is that it was never intended to be a source of information as to what rights one has since the world was always presumed to be a changing place...the founding fathers did not have cars or trains or TVs and such yet the document can apply to cover them and the changing society. So if one looks to the constitution to see if they have the right to drive, they are idiots if they think it will be spelled out like that. I think most would find it odd if the founding fathers didn't think it was everyone's right to drive their horse and buggy...heck there weren't many worse crimes that those that involved ones horse.

All the congress has to do is to propose an ammendment to the constitution that grants the authority for the IRS to collect the taxes they levy...get it rattified by 3/4 of the states (38) and whola...you will have a HUGE mess...why that would admit all of the taxes for nearly 100-years would have been collected unconsitutionally! Talk about reparations!

Checks and balances are a great idea...and if they were followed they work more often than not.

Steve

 |  IP: Logged

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-26-2003 03:37 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree. [Wink]

 |  IP: Logged

Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17664
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-26-2003 05:33 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve Guttag for President. [thumbsup] [Cool]

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4053
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 05-26-2003 07:31 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If checks and balances are good, and they are, then why do GOP presidents try to pack the Supreme Court with right wing idealogues? I would not want a court full of liberals. Some liberals, some conservatives, and mostly moderates suits me fine and better reflects the thinking of the country. The nominees of Democratic presidents may have leaned towards the liberal side but I don't think they have been as extreme as the GOP nominees have been conservative. Congress was right to shoot down Bork's nomination; he was just too far right.

 |  IP: Logged

John Schulien
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 206
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-26-2003 08:40 PM      Profile for John Schulien   Email John Schulien   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here's another example of checks and balances, and what happened when one was removed.

The Constitution originally called for the popular election of members of the House of Representatives, but called for the Senators to be appointed by the state legislatures. This was changed in 1913, with the passage of the 17th Amendment, which provided that the Senators be elected by the people. I believe that this change played a major role in the concentration of power and authority in the Federal government, and the eroding of the power and authority of State governments.

The original arrangement constituted a system of checks and balances between the interests of the People, the States, and the Federal Government.

The Representatives, being elected by the People, and facing frequent re-election, would naturally be beholden to the People directly, and would seek to use the power of the Federal government to address local issues that the Framers felt were better left to the States. The House of Representatives could be expected to attempt to use the Federal Government to solve local problems, thus pushing power and authority upward.

The Senate, being appointed by and answering to the State Legislatures, would serve as a counterweight to this tendency. The Senate would naturally seek to reserve as much power and authority to the States as possible, thus pushing power and authority downward.

This would serve as a check, and hopefully restrain (the erosion of States Rights -- I mistakenly said runaway Federalism.)

With the 17th Amendment, both bodies of Congress became directly answerable to the electorate. Now, instead of representing the State legislatures, as intended by the Framers, the Senators now answer directly to the people, leaving the State Legislatures unrepresented in Congress.

It seems very unlikely that the massive expansion in power and scope of the authority Federal Government seen over the 20th Century would have taken place in the absence of the 17th Amendment.

So the next time you read about the problems with Senatorial elections, the massive expense of a Senatorial campaign, and the "need" for Senatorial campaign finance reform, bear in mind that what you are seeing was never intended to happen at all. It is the result of a shortsighted Constitutional Amendment that dismantled a subtle, but important part of the system of checks and balances.

[ 05-27-2003, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: John Schulien ]

 |  IP: Logged

Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12090
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-26-2003 11:57 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Most people also don't get the President's biggest power either (speaking of running for President)...it isn't to "do something" it is actually that mighty VETO stamper...thus his biggest power (thus far) has been to stop things from happening.

The other biggie is what Steve K has touched upon is stuffing the judicial system. However that is more random...Supreme court justices are life-timers so the timing of a President must coincide with the death or choice of a justice.

The other big thing a President has...Commander-In-Chief...yes he is the big daddy-o in times of war. You can see the legislature squirm when a war breaks out...the power just seems to shift. If you want to be remembered as a President, nothing beats a war. Ask an American to name a former US president and the odds are they will know the ones that had a war in their term much more than one that just had a nice quiet presidency.

Think about it...between Washington and Lincoln....how may do the typical American know or even recognize their names? Jefferson came in at #3 but he was probably known more for his "founding father" and writing than for being a President...I'll wager those that name him also think Ben Franklin was a President too (he is on the $100 bill like the other guys).

Now FDR, IKE, Kennedy, Nixon (yeah Watergate is a reason they will know him but Vietnam was there too), LBJ, Truman...they all had wars behind them!

Steve

 |  IP: Logged

Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-27-2003 12:30 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is becoming very educational...keep it up, gentlemen!!

BTW...I sent an email to our two senators about the 16th amendment thing. Washington State was one that supposedly ratified the 16th amendment, but the governor or authorized official failed to sign it as required.

I wonder what the answers are going to be. I'll pass them along "if" I hear from them. [Big Grin]

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)  
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.