The executive arm of government has certain mechanisms it uses to check the activities of the judiciary. These checks are put in place to stop the judiciary from abusing its power. In a democracy, the executive branch of government is responsible for implementing and enforcing laws, while the judiciary branch is responsible for interpreting and applying laws.
Checks and balances refer to arrangements put in place in government to prevent the abuse of power by any organ of government. For instance, the legislative arm makes a law which has to be interpreted by the judicial arm of government., if such a law goes against the constitution the judiciary can render such law null and void. This becomes a check on the legislative arm by the judiciary. Again, the executive is responsible appointment and funding of the judiciary which is also a check on the judicial branch by the executive.
How the executive branch checks the judiciary include
The executive branch has the power to appoint judges and justices to the judiciary. By appointing judges who share their political beliefs and ideologies, the executive branch can influence the direction of court decisions at times in its favour.
Pardons and commutations
The executive branch has the power to grant pardons and commutations, which can effectively nullify or reduce the impact of court decisions. The executive has what is called the prerogative of mercy which it can invoke. For example, a president could pardon individuals who have been convicted of crimes, effectively nullifying the court’s decision.
The executive branch can issue executive orders that set policies and direct government agencies. If the judiciary disagrees with an executive order, it can challenge its constitutionality in court.
Removal of judge
The executive can initiate action which if successful can lead to the removal of a judge from office. Such actions can be initiated if a judge is accused of misconduct, misbehaviour or abuse of office. In this kind of case, the legislature will have to set up a panel to investigate the case of abuse of office. If found guilty such a judge will be removed from office
Budgets and funding
The executive branch controls the budget and funding of the judiciary. By limiting the judiciary’s funding, the executive branch can restrict its ability to operate effectively.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the powers of the executive branch to check the judiciary are limited by the constitution and the principle of separation of powers. The judiciary is an independent branch of government, and its judges and justices are appointed for life to ensure their impartiality and independence.
The effectiveness of checks and balances in a democratic system depends on the willingness of each organ of government to respect the authority and independence of the other branches.