Executive Power

Executive Power

This unit in the No. 86 video series explores a host of questions relating to the scope of Executive Power, from the time of the Founding to modern-day debates on that question.

The lack of an Executive was a key weakness of the Articles of Confederation, but our Framers, knowing the danger of executive power as exercised by King George III, were reluctant to vest too much power in one office. What were their biggest fears?  How does the American Executive borrow and break from the power of the King of England?

We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape…?

-Federalist No. 45

This unit also explores the core purpose and function of the Executive, including how the power of the President fits into the separation of powers.

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10 of 13: Congressional Usurpation of Executive Power [No. 86]

Is the modern President a unitary executive, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers? Professor Saikrishna Prakash argues that the Congressional establishment of authoritative administrative agencies has stripped away executive power that rightfully b ... Is the modern President a unitary executive, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers?

Professor Saikrishna Prakash argues that the Congressional establishment of authoritative administrative agencies has stripped away executive power that rightfully belongs to the President. Commissioners at important agencies are essentially immune from Presidential removal although their job is to enforce the laws passed by Congress, thus exercising executive power.

Professor Saikrishna Prakash is the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Paul G. Mahoney Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Professor Prakash’s scholarship focuses on the separation of powers, particularly executive powers. He teaches Constitutional Law, Foreign Relations Law and Presidential Powers.

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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