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Separation of Powers

Separation of Powers

legislative chamber

LEGISLATIVE

gavelThe legislative branch of government is responsible for enacting the laws of the state and appropriating the money necessary to operate the government.

 

EXECUTIVE

The executive branch is responsible for implementing and administering the public policy enacted and funded by the legislative branch.

JUDICIAL

scalesThe judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the constitution and laws and applying their interpretations to controversies brought before it.

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OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

Capitol Other types of institutional relationships exist between branches of government, including impeachment of executive or judicial officials by the legislature, and relationships between the states, federal government and Native American tribes.

OVERVIEW | SEPARATION OF POWERS

The term  "trias politica" or "separation of powers" was coined by Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, an 18th century French social and political philosopher. His publication, "Spirit of the Laws," is considered one of the great works in the history of political theory and jurisprudence. It inspired the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Constitution of the United States. Under his model, the political authority of the state is divided into legislative, executive and judicial powers. He asserted that, to most effectively promote liberty, these three powers must be separate and acting independently. 

Separation of powers, therefore, refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.  The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances.

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