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Word Count: 522
Presidential and Congressional Powers The separation of governmental powers is one of the hallmarks of the American Constitutional system In Britain and in the many other countries that follow the Westminster model the executive legislative and judicial functions are all handled wholly or in important measure by the single entity known as parliament In the United States however a separate branch of government namely the Presidency the Congress and the Judiciary carries out each of these functions The three are interrelated not only in the way they derive their power but also in the way they exercise it The President senators and representatives are directly elected judges and justices are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate Congress can remove a President from office by impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors All three branches can be involved in the formulation of laws Congress must pass them the President must sign or veto them and the courts are frequently called upon to adjudge their constitutionality and meaning This arrangement of separated and overlapping functions creates a system of checks and balances that is another hallmark of the American system Some of this is set out in the Constitution Some is codified in the decisions of the Supreme Court such as Marbury v Madison which established the right of the Court to rule on the constitutionality of acts of Congress Many gray areas remain however where the delineation of powers is not so clear and where in fact the branches of government usually the legislative and executive grapple from time to time for dominance Often these struggles take place deep within the bureaucracy but sometimes as in the extensive investigation of a sitting President by an independent counsel and the resulting consideration by Congress of his report they become the stuff of national preoccupation One important struggle was recently decided by the Supreme Court when it declared unconstitutional the line-item veto statute passed
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