Bush, Cheney and the Separation of Powers: A Lasting Legal Legacy?
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4, p. 878, December 2009
18 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2010 Last revised: 23 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 9, 2009
The George W. Bush administration will long be remembered for its constitutional and legal arguments on behalf of exclusive and inherent executive power. In its extreme form, this uncompromising effort ultimately appears to have failed and may have even pushed the judicial branch to limit executive authority and return to a more traditional insistence on interbranch cooperation in foreign affairs. Ironically, the Bush-Cheney legal legacy will ultimately depend on the Obama Administration’s public commitments and legal arguments, but early evidence suggests that Obama’s assertions of executive power will rest less on assertions of constitutional prerogative, and more heavily on statutory delegation as well as long-standing judicial precedent.
Keywords: Separation of Powers, Executive Power, Unitary Executive, Foreign Relations Law, Emergency Powers, War Powers, Obama, Bush
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