Protecting mechanisms of constitutional democracy vary a lot in their scope and impact. Nevertheless, the systems of check and balances and the separation of powers are definitely watchdogs of the state ensuring that all procedures are in accordance with the law. The presented paper aims to analyze these concepts and their role in keeping democratic order, as well as discuss constitutional mechanisms protecting individual and group rights.
First, it should be stressed that the principle of the separation of powers provides for the division of state authority into three independent branches ensuring the functioning of the government. These are the judiciary, legislature and executive systems headed by the President. All of them should be separated in order to prevent the usurpation of powers by a single branch or person. It is guaranteed by the system of check and balances, which provides that every part can exercise control over others, especially in case of certain violations. For example, the President can veto a bill passed by the government, and the Supreme Court may find it unconstitutional. The latter and the Congress, representatives of the judiciary and the legislature, exercise control over the President in the course of impeachment procedures (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). The latest demonstration of this principle in action refers to the vetoing of the bill exposing Saudis to 9/11 suits by Barack Obama (Steinhauer, Davis, & Mazzetti, 2016). In this case, the President realized his right to affect activities of the Congress. Yet, it should be stressed that the present situation is rather two-fold because families seeking revenge in this case are limited in their capabilities. Moreover, blocking the bill by the President actually prevents them from obtaining damages in this situation.
As for protecting functions of the U.S. Constitution, it should be stressed that in the USA individual and groups rights are envisaged in the Bill of Rights, not in the former. At the same time, the latter document is considered part of the Constitution, and all citizens of the USA have their rights at least guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Secondly, there are certain supportive provisions in the body of the Constitution, which provide for the structure of the government in the country. In particular, they determine the legislative power, judiciary, executive, federal and state differentiation. To some extent, these provisions protect group rights in the way that they create a system, within which the realization of other rights is possible.
Read also: "Academic Book Review: How to Complete It"
However, the main attention is to be drawn to the Bill of Rights that enumerates the fundamental rights of every American citizen. In particular, the freedom of speech provides everyone with an opportunity to express his or her beliefs and opinions, as well as guarantees that citizens can freely offer their views on important matters without the fear of being punished for what they have said. The prohibition of unreasonable searches provided by the Fourth Amendment protects both individuals and groups from arbitrary searches and the abuse of powers. The right to a due trial process ensures that all citizens can be tried in accordance with the word of law. The right to free assembly also ensures the freedom of a group to gather together with the purpose of protecting their rights and lobbying their interests. In the recent protest held in Dakota, citizens actually realized their right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, opposing the construction of the Access Pipeline. Though all of them were arrested and accused of the disturbing of public order, they were not charged with the violation of censure and could express their opinions freely urging others to join their movement.
In conclusion, it should be stressed, that the U.S. Constitution and all legal documents that it consists of envisage an effective system protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups. The principles of the separation of powers and check and balances prevent the state from the abuse of powers and create conditions for the realization of rights and the protection of interests, as provided by the Bill of Rights.
- First Amendment and Sioux Nation Under Siege | HuffPost
- Obama, Pressing Senators, Delays Veto of Bill Exposing Saudis to 9/11 Suits - The New York Times