Executive Parity: How the Structure of Executive Branches at the City, State, and Federal Level Impacts Presidents and Presidential Candidates
Alexandra R. Harrington
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Albany Law School
Appalachian Journal of Law, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 67, Winter 2007
With the specter of the 2008 presidential election already upon the electorate and daily reminders of its importance and the multitude of candidates seeking office broadcast through the media, there is perhaps no better time to examine the types of institutional structures which give presidential candidates the greatest exposure to and experience in the powers, obligations, and identity of an executive in our three branch system of government. Without examining personalities or specific issues that have and will come into play during the 2008 election cycle, a comparison of the constitutional and legal powers of state governors, members of Congress, and mayors of large American cities provides unique insights into the skills acquired by aspiring presidential contenders as a result of the legal structure superimposed on their various current and previous governmental offices by constitution, laws, and charters.
This article examines the laws which create the structure in which the American president, state governors, members of Congress, and mayors of selected cities (namely, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Philadelphia) perform their elective functions, as well as the parity between these institutions. This article then extrapolates that an executive parity exists between the offices of president, governor, and mayor which allows these office holders a better understanding of the personal and institutional requirements of the American presidency. Finally, this article concludes that, in the heat of the political battle for the presidency in 2008, it is important to take a dispassionate step back and evaluate the role that structuralism plays in the qualifications and qualities of all presidential candidates.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Date posted: November 14, 2008 ; Last revised: November 18, 2008
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