The President, Office and Powers: History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion

The President, Office and Powers: History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion

The President, Office and Powers: History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion

The President, Office and Powers: History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion

Excerpt

This is a study in Public Law--in American constitutional law, to be precise. The approach is partly historical, partly analytical. The central theme of the work is power and its development--the power of the President under the Constitution; but the characteristics of the presidential office considered as a Public Law institution too are treated. Thus forewarned, the reader will not be expecting something essentially different--a work on the political or personal aspects of the Presidency, for instance, or on its day-to-day operations as an organ of government. To be sure, these other phases of the subject are not ignored altogether, for American constitutional law is not a closed system. On the contrary, it often bristles with alternatives; and particularly is this true of the section of it which is the concern of these pages. Consequently, it often becomes pertinent to raise the question as to which of two or more available theories of the Constitution is to be preferred on grounds of policy. Indeed, for reasons which the reader will discover for himself, it is only rarely that previous practice or agreed doctrine, either one, can be dogmatically asserted to have foreclosed all choice between the logical alternatives which the record of discussion concerning the constitutional position and powers of the President discloses.

While I trust I have not slighted the opportunities of this nature which have presented themselves from time to time, the reader, on the other hand, should not feel that this fact affords him warrant for demanding still more. Likewise, I have felt free to comment on the personal traits of individual Presidents when they seem to me to have materially affected the development of the office and its powers. For the Presidency unfolds a daily drama of the reciprocal interplay of human character and legal concepts which no other office on earth can quite emulate. Altogether, I

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