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League of Women Voters of Hawaii

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Separation of Powers

Position in Brief

The League of Women Voters supports Constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government including appropriate checks and balances.


The Framers of the United States Constitution provided for three branches of government: Executive (President), legislative (Congress) and judicial (U.S. Supreme Court). Each branch has unique powers that cannot be exercised by either of the other two branches. However, each branch through its powers provides checks and balances on the other two branches. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court can rule on the constitutionality of Congressional legislation, the President can veto Congressional legislation, Congress can override a Presidential veto, and so on. It is through the separation of powers with concomitant checks and balances that the United States is able to maintain its stable form of democracy.

States, such as Hawaii, have adopted this tripartite, Constitutional form of government, but vigilance is required of an educated public to ensure its viability.

Adopted November 15, 2003


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