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What checks and balances?
29 September 2004 - Los Angeles Times

In his commentary, Robert Scheer asserts that a Bush reelection would threaten the "checks and balances on the president's exercise of power by Congress and the judiciary". Iíve got news for Mr. Scheer: those checks and balances have been trampled under the feet of the federal government since long before the current Bush administration.

Federalism is that system of government that divides power within a nation by strictly limiting the power of the central government and protecting that of its otherwise sovereign constituent states. The checks and balances of the tripartite federal government were instituted to keep its power from consuming that of the states by keeping the three branches in competition with each other. But history makes it very clear that the three branches have worked very well together to centralize the federal governmentís power.

There are some who say that the centralization of power in the U.S. - the usurpation of powers by the federal government never delegated to it by the Constitution - began even before the Bill of Rights was ratified. Others contend it was first practiced in earnest by Lincoln in his suspension of habeas corpus and waging of the War Between the States. Still others argue that the worst began in the 1930s when FDR threatened to "pack" the Supreme Court in order to usher in his "New Deal", and continued in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnsonís "Great Society". Assaults on federalism such as these have been perpetrated by Democrats and Republicans alike throughout Americaís history.

Whenever and however it started, Mr. Scheer and the rest of America can rest assured that the federal government has been trashing stateís rights for a long time now, and there is no reason to believe it will be any different under either Bush or Kerry.

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