separation of powers

  

Definition

The constitutional principle that limits the powers vested in any person or institution. It divides governmental authority into three branches: legislative (Parliament or Senate), executive (President or Prime Minister and the Cabinet), and judiciary (Chief Justice and other judges). This principle is expressed fully in the US Constitution, but is used only as a guide in the UK.

Use this term in a sentence

  • He believed in separation of powers, which is why he joined the protest when the central government seemed to gain a lot of control over the country.

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  • The founders of the United States probably intended separation of powers to prevent the supreme court and the president from making laws.

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  • A rogue US Senator was able to get a controversial bill passed last session but luckily we have separation of powers in the United States that allows the President to veto the bill.

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