The Myth of Three Co-Equal Branches of Government

February 11, 2019

On a recent (5 January) MSNBC Town Hall,noted Constitutional Scholar and current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated: “Our Founders envisioned three co-equal branches of government. There’s little excuse for one chamber of Congress refusing to do its job and simply giving power over to the President.”  She later tweeted this statement out to her 2.12 Million devoted followers and included a video recording of the MSNBC interview, presumably in case anyone doubted her constitutional acumen.

Speaker Pelosi is not alone in her confusion as to our government’s design, the “Three Co-Equal Branches” myth has been drummed into millions upon millions of public school children’s heads for probably the last one hundred years.  A simple Google search finds people ranging from reporters,to sitting Congressmen, to lawyers groups and, of course, educational websites repeating this patent untruth.

Ironically, this is perhaps one of the easiest myths to debunk these days, but there is more to the story and great cause for concern; not just over the persistence of the myth and our nation's constitution ignorance which perpetuates it, but more so over the current state of affairs in the federal government today.  How closely are we conforming to the Framers design?
Copyright ©2019

Gary Porter is Executive Director of the Constitution Leadership Initiative, Inc., a project to inform Americans about the Founder’s view of their Constitution.  In addition to being a regular contributor to CT, he writes regularly for the Fairfax Free Citizen of Fairfax Virginia. Mr. Porter also teaches at various locations around Virginia.