**The most important issue in this November’s presidential election isn’t Iraq or terrorism or the economy, though it plays into all three. The most important issue is presidential power.
In our history and civics classes, we’re taught that the genius of the Constitution is the checks and balances it imposes on the three branches of government. The founders understood that each branch — the president, the Congress and the courts — would seek to expand its power. They then set up a system that not only acknowledges man’s desire to accumulate power but also one that harnesses that desire and uses it to keep any one branch from becoming too influential**
Excellent opinion piece on the Powers of the Presidency. Exactly dead on in my opinion. The President is the Executive Branch, there to “Faithfully execute the Laws”, and to be Commander in Chief. Eventually, we need a President to return to the original Vision the founding fathers had for that office.
I beg to differ. Judicial power tripping can be reigned in my Congress restricting Federal court jurisdiction, Judicial Impeachment, or by Constitutional amendment.
Executive power abuses can only be rectified by the Executive itself. or by Congress overriding a Presidential Veto and stripping the Executive of Powers it has granted the President through statute. The Executive’s job is to Faithfully execute the Laws. Period. When Signing Statement’s are issued, and Executive Orders levied, Congress has no real power to rectify the situation short of Impeachment.
The Executive contains all Federal Law Enforcement, including the US Marshals which Congress has ordained as being the enforcement and protection arm of the Federal Judiciary. There’s a saying from an old President “Chief Justice Marshall has made his decision, now let us see him enforce it.”
Actually, both #2 and #3 are flawed because they call for similar actions. As an individual voter, there is no way that I can be assured of helping to accomplish either of them.
#2 flaw) I can only vote for congressmen in my district and senators in my state. How do I insure that the rest of the country votes along with me to make sure there isn’t a supermajority of either party.
#3 flaw) In addition to my protest to #2 above which also applies here, how am I to insure that the president I am supporting opposite of my congressional/senatorial choice (to comply with this guideline) will be the one elected? What if the other side’s choice is elected? Then, I’ve helped on the congressional/senatorial side to elect someone from the same party and done the opposite of this guideline.
Neither of these are possible to attain for an individual voter. All we can do is vote for the best choice in all offices.
While I agree there has been an unhealthy expansion of presidential power over the past two or three decades, your grim assessment of the current power of the president is inaccurate:
Signing statements are obviously an attempt to undermine the authority of Congress, but they really just capsulize the approach the executive branch is going to take in applying that law. The executive agencies don’t have to follow that approach, and to the extent they are politically inclined to toe the line, they would have been subject to political influence in the same direction even without the signing statements.
Executive orders likewise attempt to legislate federal policy, but they generally don’t hold sway in the face of Congressional action on an issue. I don’t recall the case, but it was discussed in the recent confirmation of Alito or Roberts: the extent of the president’s power is greatest when he acts in a manner endorsed by or consistent with that of Congress, it is more nebulous when Congress has not spoken on an issue, and it is at its lowest when he acts in opposition to the dictates of Congress. As you point out, if Congress hasn’t yet enacted a law in a given area, it may have to override a veto to get its way.
Anyway, the courts can review the legality of executive orders, and can review any federal action, whether inspired by a signing statement or just one of the president’s henchmen.
Executives don’t have life terms, judicial hoodlums in robes do.
Its easier to vote out a President next election than to impeach a hoodlum in robes or change the constitution.
Present day presidents and other executives are too scared to justices, that old president hasn’t been around for a century, judicial activism has gotten worse since then and presidents aren’t as brave as they used to be.
What exactly is Congress going to **force **the Supreme Court do? The balance of powers between the branches of government does still exist regardless of the expansion within the executive branch in recent decades. The failure of Congress to overreach their constitutional power is not an error on their part.
The failure of one federal court to rule in a way that you would like on one issue does not mean that our entire federal judiciary is on a “power trip.” If you honestly believe that then you must believe that Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 appointed 100s of power tripping incompetents to the federal bench over the past 20 years since they had the majority of appointments between their Republican presidencies.
Congress does not have the ability to manufacture a case on the appropriate legal issue out of whole cloth and then have it go through the appellate process to the SCT for review in such a manner that the results of Roe v Wade will be changed.
Additionally, the SCT does not have the power to manufacture cases to suit themselves for some agenda on a specific issue. Even if every single justice personally wanted to change Roe, they cannot just conjure up an appropriate case out of thin air. They can only accept or decline cases for review as they come up through the appeals courts. Even if a case involving abortion came before then, the SCT cannot change the real legal issues appealed in order to artificially make a way to overturn Roe. Our system does not work in that manner when the judges and justices of the various courts do their real jobs which is not making laws.
Another poster said Congress could rein in the courts. I offered a challenge – let them get the court to reverse Roe v Wade.
If they can’t do that, they can’t rein in the courts.
As for overturning Roe v Wade:
US Constitution: Article I, section 2,
Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
US Constitution: Article I, section 3,
Clause 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
US Constitution: Article III, section 2,
Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Congress can (and has in the past) limited the courts’ jurisdiction and placed them under rules – even when the courts disagreed. And Congress can (and has in the past) impeached judges for defying the Congress.
As for grounds for overturning Roe v Wade:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;** nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; **nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Here is a link to a site where you can review all executive orders by president. If you click on a president it tells you number by year and total for their presidency. Right now GW Bush only has 265, compared with Clinton’s 364 and Reagan’s 385…he better get out his pen, so he can catch up. Otherwise, it will be hard for Bush-haters to back-up their charges. It looks like presidents have averaged about 40+ per year.
BTW…the all-time champion of Executive Orders? FDR = 3,728!! Even with 4 terms, that is an impressive “per year” average!
I’m guessing the two-party system does get dismantled it will be quickly replaced by another two parties. One way are another what has been fractured, will need to stabilize itself back into another coalition.
Let me point out that the two-party system (the Madisonian model) grew naturally out of our form of government – in parliamentary systems, there can be viable small parties, but not in our system with its separation of powers.
No other democratic nation, parliamentary or not, has managed to function without parties.
Foundation of the two parties came with the argument over the ratification of the Constitution before the Bill of Rights. The Federalists (Alexander Hamilton) argued that the Constitution sufficiently protected rights on its own, but the Anti-Federalists wanted a Bill of Rights before they would agree to ratification.
No, the foundation of the two parties came after the Constitution was ratified. Prior to the Constitution, there were people who did want it (the Federalists) and people who didn’t (the Anti-Federalists.) But the actual party formation occurred under Thomas Jefferson who founded the Democratic Party.