ABA Dialogue Series
The U.S. Constitution was the first written constitution to create a government formed around the doctrine of separation of powers. Separation of powers gives each branch of government separate powers that act to check and balance the powers of the other branches. The framers of the Constitution deliberately created tension between the branches to ensure that no one branch would dominate our government. An understanding of separation of powers is fundamental to informed engagement with our government and the issues it confronts. We encourage lawyers and judges across the country to organize Dialogues in their community.
About the Dialogue on the Separation of Powers
The Dialogue on the Separation of Powers offers several options for exploring different topics.
- Part I, "What Is Separation of Powers?", looks at how the doctrine of separation of powers is expressed in the U.S. Constitution.
- Part II, "Points of Conflict Between the Branches," explores current areas of tension, including judicial review, the advice and consent power of the Senate, executive privilege, and constitutional war powers.
- Part III, "Mending Wall and the Separation of Powers," uses a classic poem by Robert Frost to discuss the differing perspectives of two Supreme Court justices on separation of powers.