POL 120.0901 9/13/2014 Why the constitution is considered a “living document” The Constitution is a set of rules and regulations building up a document that provides explanations regarding the guiding principles of a country and which guarantees all citizens their rights (Amar 27). Many nations of the world have written and implemented their own constitutions. Nevertheless, a constitution is considered to be a living document for several reasons. Therefore, this paper focuses on a discussion of some of the reasons that explain why a constitution is considered a “living document”. A number of reasons explaining why a constitution is considered to be a living document include, the ideas of separation of power, checks and balances, judicial reviews and the process of amendment.
The Magna Carta acknowledged some of the basic human rights such as property rights, protection from over taxation, and the rights of due process. Essentially, the Magna Carta was the beginning stages for our modern democracy, a document that would start limiting the power of the king and expressing the freedom of men. The government is divided into three bodies within the Constitution: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. The first article in the Constitution focuses on the establishing of Congress, which immediately shows the authors' view on the significance of the representative side of government. Congress would compose of elected officials from all states, and have the power to propose and pass laws.
Should the UK remain as an uncodified constitution? A constitution is a set of rules that: seek to establish the duties, powers and functions of the various institutions of government; regulate the relationship between and among the institutions; and define the relationship between the state and the individual. There are many different types of constitution. Constitutions can be codified or uncodified, unitary or federal and seen as rigid or flexible. The most common way of comparing classifying constitutions is codified or uncodified.
The article also specified the powers of Congress and gave certain limits to control the power of Congress. For example, Congress cannot make their own money, or declare war (Article 1, Section 8-9). This article shows how the government tried to restrict the power of the Legislative branch. In addition, Article Two sets another branch of government, the Executive branch. This article establishes the office of President and Vice-President and as well as states the power and duties of the President.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the UK constitution? The UK constitution is a set of rules relating to how the state is to be run and organised. These rules, which in the case of the UK constitution can be either written or unwritten due to the uncodified nature of the constitution, define the functions and powers of major institutions of government, the relationships between said institutions, and the relationship between the individual and the state (through individual rights). The primary function of a constitution is to provide legitimacy to those in power; however it also defines the limits of government power, protects freedom and distributes power within the political system. The UK constitution is somewhat unique in that it is one of only three states to have an uncodified constitution (the others being New Zealand and Israel).
The last is the judicial branch. All are separated and have different jobs assignment but comes together to help resolve issues. Thus, the centerpiece of our systems is the doctrine of Separations of Powers that constitutionally assigned duties to the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial to distinct and have checks and balances on each branch to prevent abuse of power from the government; it is to keep a democracy. The legislative branch internally has its’ own way of balancing powers. As you know the Legislative Branch is broken up into two parts or houses of the federal government of the United States of America consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
A codified constitution is a written document that comprises the laws governing the state, the citizens’ rights against the state, identifies the political institutions with which power lies, and clearly defines the relationships between these institutions. It also contains guidelines to amending the constitution itself. Currently the UK has an uncodified constitution; which means that, unlike the US, constitutional principles cannot be entrenched - as both Parliamentary sovereignty, and the constitution’s organic nature, means it has evolved over time through statutes, Anglo-Saxon common law, convention and, more recently, E.U law – and will continue to do so. In the past, and unlike most other countries, Britain has not had an event, or a break in constitutional development, significant enough to require the introduction of a fully codified constitution; i.e. American came after the revolution, Germany’s after the abolishment of the fascist regime.
The UK constitution is a set of unwritten rules which sets a framework within a country’s system of government. It establishes the rules which those who exercise power should have to obey. Though the constitution, there are many different sources. An important source is Works of Authority. These are parts of the constitution which are written down and have become very important , as they provide a major source of information and are very useful in interpretation.
The House of Representatives originates and spends bills. The Senate impeaches officials and approves treaties. The soul duty of the Legislative Branch is to make Laws. “Under the Constitution, Congress has legislative authority, but that power is partly shared with other branches and thus checked by them” (Patterson 51). This describes that the legislative branch does not have power over any other branch of government; there is checks and balances always occurring throughtout the government.”Within Cogress, there is a further check on legislative power: for legislation to passed, a majority in each chamber of Congress is required” (Patterson 51).
The three branches of U.S. government are all supported by the U.S. Constitution. Each branch will be broken down to the basic forms and understood how each one is different and have their own roles. The legislative branch is the branch that controls all the power of laws for the whole country. The Legislative branch powers consist of regulating takes, the power to declare war on any foreign country, or the power to impeach the president. The Congress consists of two houses, The Senate, and the House of Representatives.