Government is divided in three branches namely executive, legislature (congress), and judiciary. Each of the three branches has different responsibilities and independent powers such that powers and duties allied to one branch do not conflict with those of the other branches. Separation of powers is a necessary to ensure a balance of power and prevent any branch from using such power arbitrarily. Separation of powers is a system-based regulation that enables each branch to limit the powers of another.
In line with the principle of separation of powers, congress has the power to change the arrangement and the federal courts’ jurisdiction. The legislature passes bills and has broad powers relating to taxing and spending. It is also responsible for regulating inter-state trade, the federal budget, and has borrowing powers on behalf of United States. Though such legislative powers can be vetoed by the president, such veto can be superseded by two-third votes of both legislative houses.
The executive through the president can veto laws emanating from the Congress but if the president approves such laws, the judiciary may be called upon to review whether such laws conform to the constitution which is the supreme law of the land. Consequently, the judges usually enjoy the tenure of office hence are free from executive (appointing authority) influence. Courts also have the power to interpret whether the actions of the executive are constitutional through a process known as judicial review. As such, the three branches of government must cooperate with each other if they are to achieve a feasible balance if they are to ensure no branch delays or halts the work of another.
The right to regulate business and commerce within the United States is found in the clause 3 of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Clause 3 states that Congress shall have powers ‘to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes’. Other clauses of section 8 of Article 1 which have considerable impact on business in America include clauses 1, 4, 8, and18. Clause 1 allows Congress to collect taxes and duties throughout the United States. Congress therefore has the power to decide how much people and corporations are to pay as taxes. Clause 4 enables the Congress to set rules of naturalization and uniform laws relating to bankruptcy within the United States.
For instance, Congress can enact laws targeting the hopelessly indebted businesses and people to enable them escape their predicaments by declaring them bankrupt. Clause 8 enables Congress to promote inventions by enacting laws such as copyrights and patents related laws. Consequently, clause 18 (also referred as the ‘elastic clause’) enables Congress to make laws that are necessary in the execution of all the regulatory business and commerce powers under Article 1 Section 8. For instance, Congress justifies steady expansion of its general powers to regulate trade and commerce to circumstances that are not expressly provided under Article 1 section 8 by citing clause 18.
With regard to the Bill of Rights, First Amendment provides that Congress cannot enact laws that establish religion or laws that hinder the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, or the right to assemble. For instance, Congress cannot prohibit any religion within America and such law would be unconstitutional to the extent of its inconsistency with the First Amendment right. Amendment IX prohibits the imposition of excessive bail and fines as well as proscribing cruel and unusual punishments. For example, courts cannot impose unreasonable bail terms to an accused as that would be inconsistent with the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.