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Executive 2 7.69%
Legislative 9 34.62%
Judicial 11 42.31%
Other 4 15.38%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

 
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04:21 PM on 01/09/13 
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jawstheme
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Pennsylvania
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Legislature definitely has more potential power than the SC. If the SC rules a way they don't like they can amend the constitution and then the SC can't do shit.
04:27 PM on 01/09/13 
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sjb2k1
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Legislature definitely has more potential power than the SC. If the SC rules a way they don't like they can amend the constitution and then the SC can't do shit.
nah dude, think prop 8...that's a constitutional amendment that was ruled unconstitutional and has fiiiiinally gotten to scotus
04:29 PM on 01/09/13 
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jawstheme
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Pennsylvania
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nah dude, think prop 8...that's a constitutional amendment that was ruled unconstitutional and has fiiiiinally gotten to scotus
Thats a state constitution. An amendment to the Constitution (federal) becomes part of the Constitution and can't be stricken by the
SC, only interpreted.
04:30 PM on 01/09/13 
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sjb2k1
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the bull city
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Thats a state constitution. An amendment to the Constitution (federal) becomes part of the Constitution and can't be stricken by the
SC, only interpreted.
fair enough
05:42 PM on 01/09/13 
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*crying stars*
... are you crazy?
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CA
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I run this bitch

-Chief Justice Roberts
05:45 PM on 01/09/13 
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loveisdead
LGJ
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I run this bitch

-Chief Justice Roberts

Wild cardddd
05:51 PM on 01/09/13 
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*crying stars*
... are you crazy?
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CA
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Right after the ACA decision I should have made a WILD CARD BITCHES meme with Roberts.
05:58 PM on 01/09/13 
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Jake Gyllenhaal
What's up Hot Dog?
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Connecticut
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I run this bitch

-Chief Justice Roberts

YOLO
06:00 PM on 01/09/13 
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Nevuk
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Cincinnati OH
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Hamilton called the judicial branch the "least dangerous branch"
This was way before the repurcussions of Marbury vs Madison which is where the court openly stated that it had the ability for judicial review. Hamilton was all for this if you read the federalist papers (also some people argue that the Court practiced it, but that that case was where they put it into writing), but the Supreme Court of Hamilton's days was far weaker no matter how you look at it.

As for how powerful the Judicial branch is it really comes down to the individual courts. Some of them have been tremendously powerful (ie the Marshal, Warren courts being the most famous in expanding the courts power) while others did little for decades. People tend to describe the Courts by their chief justice as they are the most prominent members of the court, even if they are the dissenting person every ruling.

Andrew Jackson was a populist president and it's generally agreed that if the population wants something by a sizable majority then the state will either carry out their will or collapse (this is massively generalized/simplified). The courts ruling against Jackson was powerless because the vast majority of the country backed Jackson's position - Jackson would have had to position troops to prevent the populace from doing what his troops did instead, and as he himself did not support the ruling would have been against that.

Anyways, the justices are probably the most powerful individual members in the government and the freest to express their actual opinions due to the lifetime appointment. The President is more powerful during wartime than the Court as a whole (and the president tends to have more influence during wartime with the Court) but I would say the current court is more powerful than the presidency when not at war

The executive branch itself is where it gets tricky because there's no way that the president can know every single member of his cabinet perfectly. A president with a weak, corrupt or ineffectual cabinet is going to be less powerful than one with a good cabinet regardless of their personal political prowess (though appointing a corrupt cabinet is a good sign that they don't have any political prowess - see Grant and other failed presidencies).

The legislative branch would be the most powerful if they worked together but that rarely happens. The legislative branch can make anything constitutional with sufficient votes. They can also give the president more power by declaring war.

edit -
The Dredd Scott decision was criticized by Lincoln for reasons of removing power from the hands of the people. It was a ruling that occurred mere decades after Jackson's decision (Lincoln made these comments well before becoming president).
07:09 PM on 01/09/13 
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loveisdead
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This was way before the repurcussions of Marbury vs Madison which is where the court openly stated that it had the ability for judicial review. Hamilton was all for this if you read the federalist papers (also some people argue that the Court practiced it, but that that case was where they put it into writing), but the Supreme Court of Hamilton's days was far weaker no matter how you look at it.

As for how powerful the Judicial branch is it really comes down to the individual courts. Some of them have been tremendously powerful (ie the Marshal, Warren courts being the most famous in expanding the courts power) while others did little for decades. People tend to describe the Courts by their chief justice as they are the most prominent members of the court, even if they are the dissenting person every ruling.

Andrew Jackson was a populist president and it's generally agreed that if the population wants something by a sizable majority then the state will either carry out their will or collapse (this is massively generalized/simplified). The courts ruling against Jackson was powerless because the vast majority of the country backed Jackson's position - Jackson would have had to position troops to prevent the populace from doing what his troops did instead, and as he himself did not support the ruling would have been against that.

Anyways, the justices are probably the most powerful individual members in the government and the freest to express their actual opinions due to the lifetime appointment. The President is more powerful during wartime than the Court as a whole (and the president tends to have more influence during wartime with the Court) but I would say the current court is more powerful than the presidency when not at war

The executive branch itself is where it gets tricky because there's no way that the president can know every single member of his cabinet perfectly. A president with a weak, corrupt or ineffectual cabinet is going to be less powerful than one with a good cabinet regardless of their personal political prowess (though appointing a corrupt cabinet is a good sign that they don't have any political prowess - see Grant and other failed presidencies).

The legislative branch would be the most powerful if they worked together but that rarely happens. The legislative branch can make anything constitutional with sufficient votes. They can also give the president more power by declaring war.

edit -
The Dredd Scott decision was criticized by Lincoln for reasons of removing power from the hands of the people. It was a ruling that occurred mere decades after Jackson's decision (Lincoln made these comments well before becoming president).
This is a great post. Thanks for this. This is kind of what I was hoping for with this thread.
07:17 PM on 01/09/13 
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sjb2k1
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that is an excellent thought about the legislature!
07:50 PM on 01/09/13 
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knash9
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Pittsburgh, PA
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Quality post. Brought up some points that I didn't think about or know.

The lack of unity that congress can have can also be an argument in favor of its power because it shows the struggle it takes control congress by a single party and the fact that tensions inside congress can stop all things unlike in a way the branchs can.

Hopefully that somewhat makes sense.
08:21 PM on 01/09/13 
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Nevuk
Post-Structural Anarchist
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Cincinnati OH
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FDR's presidency proved how powerful the legislature could be when it was dominated by one party. A lot of the ideas passed then are still somewhat radical (social security being the biggest one) and at the time were basically test-running Keyne's economic theories.

Look at the compositions of the 73rd through 79th congresses and you'll see what I mean. From 1933 to 1947 the Senate was controlled by Democrats. For 10 years there were supermajorities in the Senate (from 1937-39 there were 79 democratic senators and only 96 total). From 1933-39 there were over 300 Democratic representatives (435 was the house capacity).

Those are majorities large enough to ram any amendment through even if 19 senators are more conservative or southern dems, blue dogs, etc. (The parties weren't exactly the same at that time, conservative democrats and liberal republicans existed but FDR was a democrat and voting against the party line has always been dangerous for all but the safest of incumbents).

After the New Deal though there hasn't really been a large enough majority by either party to just ram stuff through (this is Obama's problem, if he had the numbers FDR had the ACA could have been made an amendment if it were struck down by the courts). The PATRIOT act is probably the largest amount of legislation passed by a single congress since that era. The executive branch can suggest ideas but they can't force them through without sufficient backing from the legislative branch.

The judicial branch has been far more active in shaping domestic policy since that period (New Deal, Mccarthy era) than congress or the executive branch has. Some things we take for granted (most people probably think this one is in the bill of rights or constitution) like right to an attorney are based on supreme court decisions made in 63 and - the Miranda rights are predated by this decision by only three years. It's actually a fascinating case, one of the few times the Court agreed to hear a written plea without going through the appeals process -

http://www.streetlaw.org/en/landmark...n_v_wainwright

Quote:
"If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in his prison cell . . . to write a letter to the Supreme Court . . . the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter, the Court did look into his case . . . and the whole course of American legal history has been changed." —Robert F. Kennedy

Quote:
Gideon was found guilty of breaking and entering and petty larceny, which was a felony. He was sentenced to five years in a Florida state prison, partly because of his prior criminal record. While in prison, he began studying law in the prison library, believing that his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated when he was denied a defense lawyer paid for by the State. His study of the law led him to file a petition for habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Florida, which asked that he be freed because he had been imprisoned illegally. After the Supreme Court of Florida rejected his petition, he handwrote a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, asking that it hear his case. The Court allowed him to file it in forma pauperis, which meant that the Court would waive the fees generally associated with such a petition. Generally, the Court dismisses most of these petitions; Gideon's was among those that it did not dismiss.
In state criminal trials, are indigent defendants entitled to a lawyer, even in noncapital cases? That was the question the Court agreed to decide when they accepted Gideon's petition. It was not merely a question of whether Gideon had been treated fairly; the Court's ruling would affect many other people who faced similar circumstances. In a previous decision, Betts v. Brady (1942), the Court had held that in state criminal trials, an indigent defendant must be supplied with an attorney only in special circumstances, which included complex charges and incompetence or illiteracy on the part of the defendant. Since Gideon had not claimed special circumstances, the Court would have to overturn Betts in order to rule in Gideon's favor. (Florida's state law provided indigent defendants with lawyers only in capital cases; many other states had laws providing lawyers to most or all indigent defendants.)

(Foreign policy I will admit the court has pretty much no power).
08:28 PM on 01/09/13 
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Love As Arson
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And now for something completely different:

Quote:
....the play of institutions within the state apparatus is directly related to the relations of power within the power bloc. Though it functions as a "centralised unity", it has a set of formal separations - between legislative, judicial and executive power. Setting aside the judicial branch, the distinction between legislative and executive power is here treated as a power relation and not merely a juridical separation: "it corresponds both to the precise relations of political forces and to real differences in the functioning of state institutions". Depending on the state in question, one of the branches always dominates, usually either the executive or legislative branch, and thus constitutes the nodal point where unitary institutionalized power is concentrated within the state organization. The formal separation of powers reflects an internal index of subordination, inasmuch as the hegemonic class or fraction controls the dominant branch of the state. Here, Poulantzas is drawing on Althusser's reading of Montesquieu, who coined the doctrine of the separation of powers. In this reading, the relations between executive and legislative branch (separated into lower and upper chambers) of the French state immediately following the revolution, relates to a certain conception of the relations between social forces. The royalty controlled the executive, the nobility the upper legislature, and the ‘people’/bourgeoisie the lower legislature. The interplay between these institutions reflected a struggle for power among these dominant classes, with the less powerful branches playing the role of allowing certain resistances on the part of subordinate fractions within the power bloc: but the centralised unity of the state remains, and power, far from being actually separated out or distributed, continues to be concentrated in the dominant branch.
08:44 PM on 01/09/13 
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Love As Arson
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Just sayin', guys.lol.



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