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An Imperial Presidency?


An Imperial Presidency? The Executive vs. Congress and the Courts I. Can Congress Check the President? What predicts Presidential success in Congress? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: An Imperial Presidency?

An Imperial Presidency?
  • The Executive vs. Congress and the Courts

I. Can Congress Check the President?
  • What predicts Presidential success in Congress?
  • Presidential popularity has little effect Only
    a slight effect in the Senate, none in the House
  • Partisanship Same-party members more supportive
  • Effect is largest for first-term Congresspeople
  • Effect is largest during non-election years
  • Issue Type Foreign policy success more likely
    than domestic policy success
  • Proaction vs. Status Quo President is more
    successful at stopping unfriendly bills than
    passing friendly ones

B. What predicts executive success in the
  • Legislative Vetoes Congress attaches strings to
    delegation of power
  • Declared unconstitutional INS vs. Chadha
  • Hundreds of new legislative vetoes passed since
    INS vs. Chadha! Effective because Congress
    refuses to delegate authority when Presidents
    ignore legislative vetoes

2. Executive Orders
  1. Presidents issue more executive orders under
    united government!
  2. Orders rarely overturned because Presidents
    dont issue them if they anticipate a veto-proof
    majority against them

C. War Powers Does Congress Have a Role?
  • Declaration of War vs. Commander-in-Chief Which
    clause governs initiation of combat?
  • Early 19th Century Congress authorizes military
    action short of war against France, Barbary
    Pirates, American Indians, etc.
  • Late 19th Century Early 20th Century
    Presidents begin deploying small detachments of
    Marines without advance approval from Congress
  • 1950 Truman calls the Korean War a police
    action and says no declaration of war is needed
  • 1989 Bush invades Panama without asking Congress
    for authority
  • 1991 Bush argues that UN Security Council
    approval eliminates need for Congressional
    approval (then asks for it anyway). Clinton
    repeats the argument for UN/NATO approval in 1994
    (Haiti and Bosnia) and 1999 (Kosovo)

2. War Powers Act
  1. Enacted in 1973
  2. Requires President to notify Congress and get
    permission to continue hostilities beyond 60 days
  3. Repudiated as unconstitutional by all Presidents
  4. No military action has ever been curtailed by the
    War Powers Act

3. The Power of the Purse
  • Congress must approve all expenditures
  • Congress can stop wars by cutting off funds
  • Process is rarely used
  • Never used during war No one will vote to leave
    US troops stranded, and Presidents threaten not
    withdraw them before money runs out
  • Used to prevent escalation Southeast Asia
    (1973), Central America (1980s circumvented)
  • Some argue process is unconstitutional Reagan
    rejected constitutionality of Boland Amendment

II. Can Courts Check the President?
  • The power of judicial review limited by Courts
    inability to enforce decisions
  • Jefferson threatens to ignore the Court Marbury
    vs. Madison as a strategic decision
  • Jackson ignores the Court Worcester vs. Georgia
  • Lincoln ignores the court repeatedly Dred
    Scott, Ex parte Merryman
  • Nonenforcement is extremely rare requires public
    opposition to Court legitimacy

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B. Limits on the Courts Power
  1. Case or Controversy Real dispute must exist no
    advisory opinions
  2. Stare Decisis Respect precedent
  3. Political Question Doctrine Avoid questions
    best decided through political process or by
    another branch
  4. Comity Treat other branches as equals (avoid
    interfering in internal processes)
  5. Jurisdiction Congress can strip Court of
    jurisdiction over some cases
  6. Standing Parties must have specific personal
    stake in outcome

C. Courts as a Check on the Executive Bureaucracy
  1. Courts now follow doctrine of deference on
    regulatory decisions
  2. Actual amount of deference seems to depend on
    Presidential popularity

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D. Effectiveness of the Court vs. Presidential
  • Domestic policy Effective Trumans Seizure of
    Steel Mills, Nixons Tapes, etc.
  • Foreign Policy Ineffective
  • Treaties must be Constitutional But not one has
    ever been struck down
  • War powers limited But political question
    doctrine normally prevents resolution
  • Extreme deference on national security
    willingness to base decisions on unknown secret

III. Conclusions
  • Domestic policy Presidential power highly
  • Presidential programs easily blocked by Congress,
    also subject to Court review
  • President does have some ability to prevent
    disliked domestic policy through nonenforcement
    or veto power
  • Foreign policy President is virtually