The Constitution’s Separation Of Powers – Future, Present, and Retrospective

“All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress …The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America…The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court…” Articles 1, 2, 3 U.S. Constitution

Each branch of government, as designed by the Constitution, is entrusted with a unique function. There are some areas of crossover, but each branch still maintains its specific characteristic. Some powers are strictly legislative, others strictly executive, and others strictly judicial, “while still other powers may be exercised by one department or by another, according as the law may provide.”

Article One is Legislative; this is the power to make and alter the laws as needed.

Article Two is Executive; this is the power to execute and enforce the laws.

Article Three is Judicial; this is the power to interpret and apply the laws when disputes arise over what was done or what should have been done under them.

Each of these powers has unique perspectives:

Legislative power deals with the future. The legislature assesses current unfulfilled needs and writes laws which will be put into effect to meet those needs.

Executive power deals with the present. The executive makes sure the laws approved by Congress are faithfully executed.

Judicial power is retrospective. The judiciary deals “only with acts done or threatened, promises made, and injuries suffered.”


For more posts on the U.S. Constitution, please visit the “Know the Constitution” category of MadisonLiberty.org.