Checks and Balances in America

Checks and Balances in America.  For all those who have observed the events of the first days of the Trump Presidency with trepidation and despair, please remember that the framers of our Constitution were enlightened realists who instituted checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power and to protect the few from the many.  The rule of law and an independent judiciary are the preeminent checks to bring a proper balance to power.

Federalist Paper No 51.

“It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; …”

For this reason, Hamilton, Madison and Jay advocated an independent judiciary to “be an essential safeguard against the effects of the occasional ill humors in the society.” Federalist Paper No. 78, p.297; and a Bill of Rights in a Constitution “fundamental laws” that derived from the people themselves and acted to limit government. Federalist Paper No. 84, pp.347-357.

Remember also, the purposes of our Constitution, as set forth in its Preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”

Paul F. Kenney