The Politics of Shared Power: Congress and the Executive

By Louis Fisher | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Constitutional Underpinnings

Even sophisticated students of government make the mistake of describing Congress and the presidency as detached and disconnected institutions. Writing in 1885, Woodrow Wilson claimed that it was impossible that the framers of the Constitution "could believe that executive and legislature could be brought into close relations of cooperation and mutual confidence without being tempted, nay, even bidden, to collude." How could either branch, he asked, maintain its independence "unless each were to have the guaranty of the Constitution that its own domain should be absolutely safe from invasion, its own prerogatives absolutely free from challenge?"1

Scholars today are more likely to emphasize sharing than separation. As noted by Richard Neustadt: "The constitutional convention of 1787 is supposed to have created a government of 'separated powers.' It did nothing of the sort. Rather, it created a government of separated institutions sharing powers."2

Close examination of executive-legislative disputes shows how difficult it is to capture in a few words the essence of separated powers. Every concise formulation seems unsatisfactory in light of specific cases and circumstances. The Constitution, for both theoretical and practical reasons, anticipates a government of powers that are largely shared but sometimes exclusive.

-3-

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The Politics of Shared Power: Congress and the Executive
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface XI
  • Chapter 1 - Constitutional Underpinnings 3
  • Chapter 2 - President as Legislator 23
  • Chapter 3 - Congress as Administrator 68
  • Chapter 4 - Bureaucracy: Agent of Congress or the President? 106
  • Chapter 5 - The Independent Regulatory Commission: Mahomet's Coffin 146
  • Chapter 6 - War Powers and Foreign Affairs 177
  • Chapter 7 - Budgetary Control 218
  • Notes 257
  • Selected Bibliography 293
  • Index of Cases 299
  • Index 303
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