What it is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Constitution of the United States? For most people they think of the Bill of Rights, and the rights and freedoms they invoke. They would be right to an extent, but what they fail to realize is that the Constitution more importantly grants enumerated powers to the three different branches of government. Along with these powers, the Constitution also creates a series of checks and balances. These checks and balances keep one branch of government from having too much power. Between these three branches, none has as many enumerated powers listed than the legislative branch of government.
The Constitution is broken down into ...view middle of the document...
(Constitution Art. I § 8 , 1787)
The list of Congresses enumerated powers may seem immense, but some of these
powers are used frequently, while others almost never at all. Lets take Congresses power
to create and levy taxes. (Constitution Art. I § 8 , 1787) You hear debates about this in the
media all the time. In fact, many political campaigns are ran on the platform of either
cutting existing taxes, or promising that no new taxes will be created. Senator John
McCain from Arizona, pledged this in his most recent senate election campaign. While congress practices this power numerously, they hardly ever exercise other powers; such as
the power of impeachment. Under the Constitution "the President, Vice President, and all
civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." (Constitution
Art. II § 4, 1787) In the history of American government this has only been occurred 16
times; including two U.S. Presidents. The first person to be impeached by congress was
Senator from Tennessee William Blount in 1799. He was impeached by the house, but
was later dismissed of charges by the senate.(B Brunner) Under the Constitution, only the
House of Representatives may draft articles of impeachment, and the Senate is
responsible for deciding if they are guilty of the crime, and if the crime is grounds for
removal from office by a two-thirds majority vote. (Constitution Art. I § 2 & 3, 1787) Of
the two presidents impeached, Johnson in 1868 and Clinton in 1998, neither were found
guilty by the senate, or removed from office. (B Brunner)
When our founding fathers were drafting the Constitution, they were well
aware of the evils of man, and power. That’s why when they were creating the
Constitution, devices of checks and balances were incorporated into the document.
They knew that enlightened statesmen would not always be in control, and they wanted a
safe guard from one branch of the government from becoming too powerful. An example
of such checks and balances is the ability to pass bills...