The President's Question Time: Power, Information and the Executive Credibility Gap

48 Pages Posted: 30 May 2007 Last revised: 28 Dec 2011

Sudha Setty

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The rule of law depends on a working separation of powers and transparency and accountability in government. If information is power, the ability of one branch of government to control information represents the ability to control federal legislation, policy and decision-making. The framers of the United States Constitution developed the Madisonian model of separated powers and functions, and a system of checks and balances to maintain those separations, with this in mind. History has shown us a progressive shift of the power to control information toward the executive branch and away from the legislature. Particularly when unified, one-party government precludes effective Congressional investigations and oversight, little recourse exists for accessing information. This Article addresses an institutional design element that would increase transparency and accountability: periodic question-and-answer sessions between Congress and the President modeled on the UK's Prime Minister's Question Time. This makes the case for such a measure in the U.S. by examining the comparative political history and legal norms of the UK and the United States, and the need for a Question Time to increase government transparency and efficiency.

Keywords: constitutional law, comparative law, public policy, politics

Suggested Citation

Setty, Sudha, The President's Question Time: Power, Information and the Executive Credibility Gap (2008). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 17, p. 247, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=989613

Sudha Setty (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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