Checks and Balances on the Presidency
“We all understand that the Framers expected that the three branches would be jostling and jousting with each other, as each threatened to encroach on the prerogatives of the others. They thought this was not only natural, but salutary, and they provisioned each branch with the wherewithal to fight and to defend itself in these inter-branch struggles for power. When these disputes arise, I think there are two aspects of contemporary thought that tend to operate to the disadvantage of the Executive.
“The first is the notion that politics in a free republic is all about the Legislative and Judicial branches protecting liberty by imposing restrictions on the Executive. The premise is that the greatest danger of government becoming oppressive arises from the prospect of Executive excess. So, there is a knee-jerk tendency to see the Legislative and Judicial branches as the good guys protecting society from a rapacious would-be autocrat.
“The Founders saw themselves as framing a more perfect version of separation of powers and a balanced constitution. [The Executive branch] did not have the power to tax and spend; it was constrained by due process in enforcing the law against members of the body politic; it was elected for a limited term of office; and it was elected by the nation as a whole. That is a remarkable democratic institution – the only figure elected by the Nation as a whole.
“The second contemporary way of thinking that operates against the Executive is a notion that the Constitution does not sharply allocate powers among the three branches, but rather that the branches, especially the political branches, ‘share’ powers. One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of ‘shredding’ constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law. The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules…have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.” (Attorney General Bill Barr)
“A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” (Proverbs 16:11; ESV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
- Declare, “The three branches of the U.S. government will operate within the powers given them by the U.S. Constitution.”
- Intercede for each branch—Executive, Legislative, and Judicial—in as much depth as you have understanding of it. Here is a transcript of it from the U.S. National Archives to help you.
- Pray for a revelation of the balance of powers to decision-makers in D.C.
- Ask the Lord to raise up government legislators and attorneys, as well as educators in colleges and universities, to highlight the great need of this understanding among the American populace.
- Cry out, “Where is the one who will protect the U.S. Constitution? Where is that reformer who can make the ancient path new again?”
- Thank the Lord for our Attorney General Bill Barr, who brought this issue to light in the midst of the national challenge of presidential impeachment.
A prayer you can pray:
Lord, the three branches of the U. S. government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, were designed to each have their own specific functions. Each of these functions is a component of who You are and we are thankful for our framers’ understanding of that when they decided the powers each of the branches of our government would have. Help us to educate ourselves on that powerful document. We ought to be familiar with the constitutional roles of the three branches and the balance of powers of each detailed in it. Lord, wake up the American people to care about such things. When we stopped teaching civics in schools, we gave ourselves over to the possibility of reinterpretation of our Constitution. May this never be! Raise up a generation who sees this threat! Raise them up as lawmakers in states and in Congress. Raise them up as lawyers and judges and educators in these things. Let our colleges and universities honor this document in their history, civics, and law courses. Lord, where is the one who will protect the U.S. Constitution? Where is that reformer who can make the ancient path new again? Thank you for people like Atty. General Bill Barr, who are pulling back the curtain on our ignorance and helping us see what needs to be understood in this dangerous time in American history. Help the three branches navigate this impeachment process to Your desired end in Jesus Name. Amen.
Our government will function as it was designed to function under the U.S. Constitution. Modern thought shall not falsely alter it!
Learn more here about Attorney General Bill Barr and his speech at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention.