Pluralist system of checks and balances

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The rise of the pluralist system of checks and balances was informed by the need for the society to protect itself against anarchy, thus forming a government with three arms of the government that works towards checking the excesses of one another. Through the pluralist system of checks and balances, the citizens are protected from violence against one another, as well as from violence against the government. The United States has seen its systems of checks and balances seriously tested in the last one year, especially following the election of President Donald Trump, and the subsequent issuance of authoritarian executive orders by his administration. The effectiveness of the pluralist system of checks and balances in the last year has been a mix of both successes and failures. The groups most affected by the failures the operations of the pluralist system of checks and balances in the United States in the last one year include the minority immigrant, especially the immigrants from the Muslim nations, against whom President Trump’s administration has issued executive orders to bar entry into the United States within the last one year (Walsh, n.p.). The success of the pluralist system of checks and balances in this respect is that both judicial arm of the government has gone ahead to overrule the executive orders that were baring the entry into the US of individual from six Muslim majority countries (Gass, n.p.). The judiciary has severally frustrated President Trump’s immigration plans against the minority Muslims through staying and suspending the executive orders requiring baring the Muslim nationals’ entry into the United States, through applying both constitutional and procedural grounds (The Economist, n.p.).

However, the legislature arm of the government, dominated by the Republicans majority in the Congress has however failed to hold the President and his administration to account over the issue of illegal immigration executive orders that violates the rule of law. The outcome in this respect has been that even though the executive orders issued by President Trump’s administration have been identified to comprise various aspects of violating the rule of law, Congress has not called the executive to account or voted to defeat the illegal executive orders (The Economist, n.p.). The other area of checking the executive’s excesses in which the Congress has failed is related to the secret powers that have been acquired by the executive, allowing the executive to be able to order arrest and detention of foreign individuals in the United States indefinitely, while also ordering their trial on the basis of evidence that is not disclosed, which the executive holds as a counter-terrorism measure prerogative (The Economist, n.p.).  While the Congress is tasked with the responsibility of both making and repealing laws accordingly to ensure that laws are as clear and unambiguous as possibly could be, the Congress has largely failed in this duty within the last year. Consequently, the executive can, in addition to ordering arrest, detention and trial of foreigners without disclosing evidence, go ahead and order a war unapproved by the Congress (The Economist, n.p.). Such powers, left in the hands of a tyrant President, could be recipes for blatant violations of the rule of law and the fodder for an anarchist government. The major weaknesses attributable to the lack of Congresses’ effectiveness in playing its role of checks and balances is the unthinking party loyalty and party allegiances, which have seen both the Senate and House of Representatives fail to legislate on laws that would curb on the executive’s excesses powers, based on their party loyalties (The Economist, n.p.). Similarly, the growing trend of the election into office of individual hardliners and extremists bent on either the leftist or the rightist ideologies has also made it difficult for a bipartisanship approach to the Congressional legislation, aimed purely at safeguarding the welfare of the Americans.

Nevertheless, while the pluralist system of checks and balances has had mixed outcomes of success and failures as regards the issue of protecting the immigrant minorities in the United States, the impact of pluralist system of checks and balances on the effectiveness of public policy has largely been a success. For example, in the last one year, the public policy on health has been the most controversial issue, considering that the President Trump’s administration had promised throughout the presidential campaigns to scrap the Obamacare once elected into the office. Thus, once President Trump was sworn in, the first major policy work was bent on scrapping the Affordable Care public health policy, but the pluralist system of checks and balances has effectively protected the public interest in this policy when the House of Representatives failed to pass the bill seeking to scrap the Obamacare (The Economist, n.p.). Therefore, the defeat of President Trump’s attempt to scrap the Obamacare, albeit momentarily by the Congress, is a better indication that at least the system of checks and balances still continue to work in support of the public policy that is of interest and benefit to the common citizen.

The pluralist system of checks and balances in the last one year has also impacted on the civil liberties and civil rights in a positive and largely effective manner. The civil rights movements have organized numerous protests and demonstrations over different issues, policies and executive orders associated with President Trump’s administration, working successfully to frustrate certain executive orders and policies. The American Civil Liberties Union has particularly been impressive in asserting its role as part of the pluralist system of checks and balances, after suing President Trump’s administration over both sets of the immigration orders, resulting in such executive orders being stayed or suspended by the judiciary (The Economist, n.p.). The civil liberties and civil rights groups have also succeeded in stopping President Trump’s administration progress with the environmental policy reforms, while also highly criticizing the United States move to depart from the Paris Agreement.

The media has also played a significant role as part of the pluralist system of checks and balances, with the media remaining overly active in citing all the violations of the rule of law committed by President Trump’s administration, while also investigating and bringing into the limelight some scandals that have seen high-profile individuals in the Trump’s government resign from their positions. For example, the New York Times and the New Yorker have held extensive investigations on the role of Russia in aiding President Trump’s campaign as well as the alleged hacking of Russia during the 2016 United States Presidential elections, bringing down several high-profile security individuals in the trump’s government (The Economist, n.p.).

Equally, individual citizens have also become part of the larger pluralist system of checks and balances, especially by playing their checks of the President Trump’s excesses through active criticism and commentaries on the social media, which has at times impacted on President Trump and his administration reversing certain policies (Walsh, n.p.). The United States citizenry use of the social media, most especially the use of Twitter to criticize and make commentary on the government’s policies and administration matters has been very active in the last one year, more than ever in the history of the United States.  The outcome is that through such social media commentary and criticism of the government’s policies and administrative agenda, the citizenry has been able to operate as a new, yet highly effective part of the pluralist system of checks and balances.  Both individual social media users and bloggers have helped not only check on the excesses of the government, but also extend the conversation and discourse of different government policies and agendas into the public court of opinion, thus helping shape the government’s subsequent actions in different policy matters (Gass, n.p.).

In conclusion, it can be observed that the pluralist system of checks and balances has worked to a larger extent. Other than for the failures of the Congress, the Judiciary has effectively played its role of checking on the excesses of the executive. The outcome is that public policy on immigration, health, state security among other policy issues have been safeguarded against the executive’s blatant violations. On the other hand different groups of people, the media, civil liberties and civil rights, and the citizens have played their roles effectively in making the pluralist system of checks and balances effective.

Why did you choose the sources you did? Why do you think they are reliable?

The sources selected for this work are newspaper articles from reputable media organizations. The sources are highly reliable because they are purely media reports on the checks and balances in the United States in the last one year, as opposed to being commentaries.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Gass, Henry. “In Trump’s orders, a test of America’s checks and balances”. The Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2017. Web. Accessed: December 4, 2017
  2. The Economist. “America’s system of checks and balances seems to be working.” The Economist, Apr 1st 2017. Web. Accessed: December 4, 2017
  3. Walsh, Kenneth T.  “Blocked by Design: Trump’s inability to enact his agenda shows the system is working.” US News, June 16, 2017. Web. Accessed: December 4, 2017
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