Guest Lecture: An Overview of the U.S Constitution, Separation of Powers and Check and Balances

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Law Study Program of President University welcomed Stephen G. Barnes, the Assistant Dean of Graduate and International Programs of Penn State Law, Pennsylvania in a guest lecture entitled “An Overview of the U.S Constitution: Separation of Powers and Check and Balances” recently.

“As the first pillar to the long-lasting existence of the nations, constitutions play an important role in the protection of the national interests of a state in virtually every country around the world. These basic principles and laws of states must be positioned in harmony with the culture, traditions, customs that revolve in society to avoid the collision of interests. Those are things you should really pay attention to when studying the constitutions of other countries,” stated Barnes.

Barnes explained legal systems applied in the United States of America. He explained that the United States had a bicameral system where there was a separation of powers between the federation and state governments. Furthermore, this is related to the check and balances system among the chambers in the country. In addition, the separation of powers also affects the applicable law. Such countries have laws that are applied nationally and have laws that are applied regionally, or only applied in certain states.

The Head of Law Study Program President University Zenny Rezania Dewantary, S.H., M.Hum. revealed that the legal system of the United States is similar to the Indonesian legal system where there is a separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judiciary bodies. The check and balances system also is applied in Indonesia where each of the three bodies of government can limit the powers of the others. “The existence of check and balances is actually expected to make the government run smoothly, but in reality, this separation of powers creates complexity in interactions between state bodies. This happened in America and Indonesia as well,” Zenny said.

Barnes’ presentation of the legal system in America received a warm welcome from Zenny. “Studying U.S. law is good. Students can compare the prevailing legal system that is applied in the United States and Indonesia which are actually similar but not the same,” she said.

To close the session, Barnes also explained the scholarship opportunity that Penn State Law offers to students who want to pursue a master’s degree