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Legislative and Judicial Justice Systems, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

It is impossible to determine the superiority or greater power of any single branch of government, as the system of checks and balances was originally devised to prevent any such disparity between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.  Differing abilities and agendas, however, define all.  More importantly, while there can be no underestimation of the value of the executive branch, the legislative and judicial arms of government more directly reflect the will of the people, and represent the working machinery necessary for a democratic nation.

The Two Constructs

In a number of nations, the legislative branch of government is embodied in a parliament; in the United States, the House of Representatives and the Senate chiefly constitute it.   No matter the structure, however, the primary defining element of these bodies is that they are composed of officials elected by the people.  This foundational element of a legislature is often overlooked, as the activities of the offices are in place to introduce, support, and/or amend laws, and this typically engages the attention of the citizenry.  Nonetheless, and in a parliament or in the U.S. framework, the underlying objective of this body is to express the will of the people and to create laws in the best interests of the society.  Similarly, the judiciary also is founded on the basic principle of serving the interests of the people, and is in place to see that the due maintenance of the law is observed.  More commonly, it exists, and at all levels, to investigate and address circumstances wherein the law is violated and citizens are imperiled, in any manner whatsoever.

By its very nature, then, the judicial justice system is a reactive force, and it has the least power to innovate of the three governmental branches (Hall, McGuire  4).  Essentially, it is responsive to breaches in the society’s structure.  In the U.S. and in most democratic nations, it is as well protected from undue influences from the other two branches, even as the concerns of these fuel its actions.  More exactly, as the legislature is in place by the will of the people, the judicial branch exists to confirm and endorse the laws so established by the representatives of the people. Historically, the judicial branch of government is also the one most accessible to the average citizen, and is usually viewed as the most elemental component of a democratic state.  It is the arena wherein the common individual is most likely to directly interact with the government, apart from election processes.

In regard to the checks and balances system of these two branches of government, there is an ironic and necessary crossover between them, and this is most evident in the legislative powers of the Senate and the House of Representative in impeachment processes.  The House  is enabled to identify members of the executive branch who, for various offenses, may be removed from office.  This determination from the House is then brought to the Senate, which acts in a judicial capacity regarding these processes: “In essence, the Senate sits as the trial court” (Gershman  23).

In these occasions, then, a judiciary process occurs apart from the judicial branch, because the matter to be tried is actually one based on the electoral processes themselves.   As it goes more to conduct unbefitting an elected official, only similarly elected officials are deemed appropriate arbiters.

Conclusion

As noted, the legislative and judicial arms of government are not inherently distinct entities, and each reflects powers of the other.  As a legislature may both draft laws and conduct judicial impeachment proceedings, so too may the judiciary determine a law unconstitutional, and override the legislature’s functions.  All of this, however, is precisely where the value of the system of checks and balances resides.  Moreover, these two branches more evidently evince the actual workings of a democratic state, the electoral processes behind the executive branch notwithstanding.  The legislative and judicial branches of a democratic government directly reflect and express the will of the citizens, and they fully represent the working machinery necessary for a democratic nation.

 

Works Cited

Gershman, G. P.  The Legislative Branch of Federal Government: People, Process, and Politics. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2008.  Print.

Hall, K., & McGuire, K. T.  The Judicial Branch.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.       Print.

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