Separation of Powers Doctrine - Judicial Branch of Government

The Supreme Court has stated that nothing in "the Constitution requires that the three branches of Government 'operate with absolute independence.'" Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 693-94, 101 L. Ed. 2d 569, 108 S. Ct. 2597, (1988) (quoting United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 707, 41 L. Ed. 2d 1039, 94 S. Ct. 3090 (1974) (other citations omitted)). Moreover, in Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 102 L. Ed. 2d 714, 109 S. Ct. 647 (1989). the Supreme Court reiterated its adherence to the flexible Madisonian approach to the separation of powers doctrine: "Madison recognized that our constitutional system imposes upon the Branches of Government a degree of overlapping responsibility, a duty of interdependence as well as independence ...." Id. at 381. Stated another way, the doctrine "'enjoins upon its branches separateness but interdependence, autonomy but reciprocity.'" Id. (quoting Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 635, 96 L. Ed. 1153, 72 S. Ct. 863 (1952)). In applying the separation of powers doctrine with respect to the judicial branch of government, the Supreme Court examines, inter alia, whether "a provision of law 'impermissibly threatens the institutional integrity of the Judicial Branch.'" Mistretta, supra, 488 U.S. at 383 (quoting Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833, 851, 92 L. Ed. 2d 675, 106 S. Ct. 3245 (1986)).