Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2197209
 


 



The Originalism Blog: An Exchange with Professor Michael Ramsey on the Unitary Executive


Seth Barrett Tillman


National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) - Faculty of Law

Michael D. Ramsey


University of San Diego School of Law

January 7, 2013


Abstract:     
Prior to the 2012 election, Professor Michael Ramsey and Seth Barrett Tillman had an exchange on the unitary executive theory on The Originalism Blog.

The prevailing view is that the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause and its "office ... under the United States" language covers the presidency and vice presidency. However, Tillman points out that George Washington, while President, accepted gifts from foreign government functionaries. He accepted them; kept them; and never asked for congressional consent. Based on these events, and also on correspondence from Hamilton to the Senate, Tillman concludes that the Constitution's "office ... under the United States" language reaches (as a matter of original public meaning) only appointed officers, not elected officials.

Moreover, rejecting the Hamilton/Washington understanding of the Constitution's "office ... under the United States" language is tantamount to rejecting Hamilton's and Washington's conduct as a guide to understanding the Constitution's original public meaning. In these particular circumstances -- where Washington's conduct goes to his personal honor and morality -- rejecting Washington's position has global consequences across the Constitution. It means that we cannot rely on Washington's to confirm the unitary executive hypothesis.

Professor Ramsey disagrees, and distinguished using Washington's conduct to confirm the unitary executive, from using Washington's conduct to overcome the prevailing view of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 10

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Date posted: January 9, 2013 ; Last revised: February 16, 2013

Suggested Citation

Tillman, Seth Barrett and Ramsey, Michael D., The Originalism Blog: An Exchange with Professor Michael Ramsey on the Unitary Executive (January 7, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2197209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197209

Contact Information

Seth Barrett Tillman (Contact Author)
National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) - Faculty of Law ( email )
Ollscoil na hÉireann, Má Nuad
New House (#306)
Maynooth, County Kildare
Ireland
(353) (0) 1474-7216 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.nuim.ie/staff/mr-seth-barrett-tillman
Michael D. Ramsey
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-4145 (Phone)
619-260-2218 (Fax)
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