Bridging the Separation of Powers in Public Policy


The separation of powers is a hallmark of democratic systems. Power is divided among different branches or units of government. The legislature legislates, the executive executes and the judiciary judges. Even in parliamentary systems, where the head of state is a monarch or subservient to the parliament, there tends to be a functional division between courts, agencies and lawmakers. For better or worse, this division affects the popular view of the relationship between public administrators and legislators.

Separation of powers is a concept that cropped up in response to 17th century concerns about absolutist government. Thomas Hobbes argued that citizens had to obey their government no matter what it did. To disobey, he wrote inLeviathan, would plunge humanity back into a “perpetual war of every man against his neighbor,” which is the very state of nature that mankind sought to escape through the creation of government…. (Read more at Public Administration Times)