Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Written for a French audience in 2017, this article sought to frame the explosive issues about the Trump presidency in relation to the American trend to strong views of the unitary executive, that in the author's view ignore the striking contrast between to propositions in Article II Section 2 of the Constitution, its only words defining presidential power. Made "Commander in chief" of the military, he is next given the power only to require the opinion in writing from the heads of the executive bodies Congress was expected to create how they intended to carry out the duties Congress had imposed on them. For the French audience, and subsequently published in France as Revue française d’administration publique no. 170, 2019, p. 433-446, the abstract read (also in translation):

American domestic government is created and defined by statute, not by the American Constitution. The Constitution’s limited text defining the American President’s authority in relation to that government suggests that his authority is that of oversight, not direct command. In the last half century, this article reflects, Presidents as diverse as Reagan, Clinton and Obama have attempted to extend their authority in the direction of command. Written one year after President Trump’s inauguration, the article argues that the current President has dramatically continued this trend, acting as if a monarch. Presidential authority is unchecked and ventures away from any commonly shared interpretation of the constitutional rule of law.

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