- Political power rests with the people
- The preamble - "We the people"
- Government is not all-powerful
- Rule of law - Government and its officers are always subject to, and never above the law
- Constitutionalism - Government mst be conducted according to constitutional principles
- The 1st Amendment - "Congress shall make no law"
Separation of Powers
- The Constitution distributes the powers of the national government among the three branches
- Article I Section 1 - legislative powers
- Article II Section 1 - executive powers
- Article III Section 1 - judicial powers
Checks and Balances
- The branches are tied together by a complex system of constitutional restraints that control the power of each branch so that one branch cannot become superior over another
- Article II Section 2 Clause 2 - Presidential appointment power
- The power to declare what government does is in accord with what the Constitution provides
- The power to declare legislative acts and executive action illegal, null and void and of no force and effect
- The Federalist #78
- Division of power among a central government and several regional governments
- The 10th Amendment - "Powers not delegated"