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What is the pure theory of separation of powers?

A separation of powers theory that advocates a complete separation of the personnel and functions of government institutions.


What is an example of a pure institutional separation of powers?

An illustration of pure institutional separation can be found in Articles I, II and III of the US Constitution. Here legislative power is vested in Congress, executive power in the President and judicial power in the Supreme Court.


On what grounds is the US Constitution accused of being in breach of the pure theory of separation of powers?

The ability of the Supreme Courts to conduct judicial review and strike down legislation found to be in breach of the constitution for instance, allows the judicial branch to interfere with the legislative autonomy of Congress.


How does the pure theory seek to protect liberty and restrict government power?

According to the pure theory the institutional and functional separation of powers between the three branches of government is sufficient to safeguard liberty and prevent oppressive or arbitrary governments.


What is the criticism levelled at the pure theory in terms of limiting government power?

The approach of the pure theory means that each institutions decisions are immune to challenges from the other branches – the power is dispersed but also insulated within each branch. Therefore, the pure theory seems to create a system in which the concentration of unfettered power is in not just one branch but three.