Monday, November 3, 2008

The Unitary Executive Theory

After the election we can look forward to a proper airing of issues that were considered too difficult for voters to grasp. The most important of these is the Unitary Executive Theory.

This boondoggle was first formulated by the Reagan Justice Department under Edwin Meese. It was an expansion of the power of the Executive Branch of government to control policy through its authority over Administrative Agencies.

Under the W. Bush administration the theory was expanded to put the president as far as possible beyond the control of Congress or the Constitution. Dark Lord Cheney, and his minion, the activist and deeply reactionary Professor Yoo, posited an almost imperial presidency. Their importance may diminish soon, but they leave in their wake four Supreme Court Justices who support their new version of the Unitary Executive.

One of the first formulators in the Meese office, Federalist Society founder Steven Calabresi, now writes:

“The cost of the bad legal advice that he received is that Bush has discredited the theory of the unitary executive by associating it not with presidential authority to remove and direct subordinate executive officials but with implied, inherent foreign policy powers, some of which, at least, the president simply does not possess.”

Which is to say that the president, with the backing of one short of an unbeatable majority on the Supreme Court, has been wielding unconstitutional power for several years now.

Tomorrow, there will either be a president elect who wishes to continue the expansion of the Unitary Executive and will veto any effort to investigate abuses by the Bush administration, or a president elect who (it is to be hoped) wishes to return to constitutional equilibrium and oversea the aforementioned investigations. And America will within a year or two have a President and a Supreme Court that believes that Congress is just a powerless showpiece, or a President and a Supreme Court that believes in the Constitutional balance of power that had been in effect for two hundred years until the Bush administration got a hold of it.

This sure has my intestines in a twist, and I don’t think that I’m the only one.


marc aurel said...

Good luck with your elections and may the national results reflect your own preferences.
Meanwhile I'm tagging you, if you haven't been so tagged already.

Anonymous said...

Maybe President Obama will help untwist your intestines, Fred. He should with any luck, being a Constitutional lawyer himself, be able to undo some of the harm Bush & Co has done to the Constitution. Or he could just exploit the generous new powers his predecessor has so generously granted him!


fred c said...

It's over Johnny, and I'm relieved. One of the last things I heard from a Republican was that now they need to re-create their comeback of 1994. Yeah, I thought, you mean re-create 1900.