Like 'Nobody Has Ever Seen Before': Precedent and Privilege in the Trump Era

15 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2020

See all articles by Heidi Kitrosser

Heidi Kitrosser

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law

Date Written: June 30, 2020

Abstract

In this Essay, I examine President Trump’s uses of executive privilege, both explicit and implicit, to stymie the congressional investigations that led to his impeachment in late 2019. Like so much else in his presidency, Trump’s sweeping claims of exemption from oversight are both symptomatic of a long trend toward presidential imperialism, and especially brazen and dangerous manifestations of the same. In the Essay, I take both a wide and a long view of Trump’s impeachment intransigence. That is, I consider how his behavior reflects and thus far, has exacerbated judicial and political branch trends favoring presidential power. Looking to the future, I acknowledge that executive aggrandizement episodes tend to build on themselves, contributing to a ratchet effect that enhances presidential power. I argue, however, that this one-way trajectory is not inevitable. Indeed, some presidential abuses become anti-canonical and spark a backlash against future such actions. President Trump’s obstruction deserves to meet this fate.

Suggested Citation

Kitrosser, Heidi, Like 'Nobody Has Ever Seen Before': Precedent and Privilege in the Trump Era (June 30, 2020). 95 Chicago-Kent Law Review (2020 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3640805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3640805

Heidi Kitrosser (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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