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Professor Firmage's reaffirmation of the Framers' conception of a President who would wait for congressional instructions appeals to traditional values of democratic control and congressional primacy that have deep roots in our national consciousness. But this model of presidential passivity has some of the same strengths and weaknesses as the advocacy of chastity to solve today's problems of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The basic values may be sound, but when one moves from the assertion of those values to the identification of policy prescriptions, then it becomes clear that contemporary problems are too complex to be solved by simply returning to traditional values. Even though Professor Firmage made a strong case for reassertion of congressional prerogatives, the difficult questions facing the political system today need to be examined in their real-life complexities.


Law | Military, War, and Peace | President/Executive Department


© 1987 American Society of International Law. This article has been published in the Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting and is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.