Sarasota News Leader

10/19/2012

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OPINION VOTE 'NO' ON AMENDMENTS 5, 6 AND 8 EDITORIAL Our nation's Founding Fathers, after years of contentious debate and careful compromise, succeeded in crafting a constitution that re- mains the apotheosis of democratic govern- ment. Central to that document's enduring authority is its division of government into three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The intention was that no single branch could reign supreme — that a system of checks and balances would ensure that no branch of gov- ernment would limit the power of another branch. The legislative branch would create laws and appropriate funds, the executive branch would enforce those laws and ensure the sound operation of the government, and the judicial branch would adjudicate legal dis- putes and serve as the arbiter for whether an act or action was in keeping with constitution- al boundaries. For more than two centuries, the judiciary has helped moderate the winds of political change, which more directly impact the legis- lative and executive branches, to preserve the central tenet of a representational democracy: Majority rule; minority rights. Both the governor of Florida and the state Legislature have attempted in recent years to exceed their constitutionally vested authori- ty to advance their own ideological agendas, but they have been reined in by the Florida Supreme Court. In short, the division of pow- ers in the Florida Constitution, modeled as it

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