Congress's Constitution

Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers
Author: Josh Chafetz
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300197101
Category:
Page: 448
View: 9017

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A leading scholar of Congress and the Constitution analyzes Congress's surprisingly potent set of tools in the system of checks and balances. Congress is widely supposed to be the least effective branch of the federal government. But as Josh Chafetz shows in this boldly original analysis, Congress in fact has numerous powerful tools at its disposal in its conflicts with the other branches. These tools include the power of the purse, the contempt power, freedom of speech and debate, and more. Drawing extensively on the historical development of Anglo-American legislatures from the seventeenth century to the present, Chafetz concludes that these tools are all means by which Congress and its members battle for public support. When Congress uses them to engage successfully with the public, it increases its power vis-�-vis the other branches; when it does not, it loses power. This groundbreaking take on the separation of powers will be of interest to both legal scholars and political scientists.

Congress's Constitution

Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers
Author: Josh Chafetz
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300227647
Category: Political Science
Page: 448
View: 4155

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A leading scholar of Congress and the Constitution analyzes Congress’s surprisingly potent set of tools in the system of checks and balances. Congress is widely supposed to be the least effective branch of the federal government. But as Josh Chafetz shows in this boldly original analysis, Congress in fact has numerous powerful tools at its disposal in its conflicts with the other branches. These tools include the power of the purse, the contempt power, freedom of speech and debate, and more. Drawing extensively on the historical development of Anglo-American legislatures from the seventeenth century to the present, Chafetz concludes that these tools are all means by which Congress and its members battle for public support. When Congress uses them to engage successfully with the public, it increases its power vis-à-vis the other branches; when it does not, it loses power. This groundbreaking take on the separation of powers will be of interest to both legal scholars and political scientists.

Congress and the Constitution


Author: Goodrich Professor of Law Neal Devins,Keith E. Whittington
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780822387114
Category: Constitutional law
Page: 333
View: 9835

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Essays contest notion of the absolute preeminence of judicial review in constitutional interpretation, analyzing the role of Congress as a constitutional interpreter and responsible constitutional agent.

Enforcing Equality

Congress, the Constitution, and the Protection of Individual Rights
Author: Rebecca E Zietlow
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814797075
Category: Law
Page: 265
View: 1060

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"Considered as a whole, this collection offers a basis for generalisations and specialised inquiry that will support both teaching and further research on the role of women in world history."--Itinerario "The book deserves credit for stimulating such questions, which have broad appeal among scholars of colonialism, including those who do not work on gender. Its broad coverage and accessible language give it access to a wider audience than many academic anthologies, thereby advancing the interests of all those who value the study of colonial history."--Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History Women and the Colonial Gaze is the first collection to present a broad chronological and geographical examination of the ways in which images and stereotypes of women have been used to define relationships between colonial powers and subject peoples. In essays ranging from ancient Rome to twentieth-century Asia and Africa, the contributions suggest that the use of gender as a tool in the imperialist context is much older and more comprehensive than previously suggested. Contributors look particularly at the ways in which colonizers constructed a national identity by creating a contrast with the colonial "other," in contexts ranging from Christian views of Islam women in medieval Spain to French beliefs about Native American women. They also examine the ways in which images of gender as constructed by colonial powers impacted the lives of native women from colonial-era India to Korea to Swaziland. Comparative in its approach, the volume will appeal to students and historians of women's studies, colonialism, and the development of national identity.

Courts and Congress

America's Unwritten Constitution
Author: Quirk,William J. Quirk
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 1412811449
Category: Political Science
Page: 312
View: 2363

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Its often said, confirmed by survey data, that the American people are losing confidence in their government. But the problem may be the reverse-the government has lost confidence in the people. Increasingly the power to make decisions in our democracy has been shifted from Congress to the court system, forcing non-elected officials to make decisions that affect the lives of Americans. In a society which is based on the democratic elections of its officials, this is clearly backwards. Quirk maintains that what he calls the Happy Convention, an informal and unwritten rearrangement of "passing the buck" of government powers, is done to avoid blame and approval ratings becoming lower for a particular person or party. For example, the Happy Convention assigns the power to declare and make war to the president. Congress and the court play a supporting role-Congress, when requested, gives the president a blank check to use force-the Court throws out any challenges to the legality of the war. Everyone wins if the war avoids disaster. If it turns out badly, the president is held accountable. His ratings fall, reelection is out of the question, congressmen say he lied to them; his party is likely to lose the next election. In this way, Quirk reminds us that the Happy Convention is not what the Founders intended for us. For democracy to work properly, the American people have to know what options they have. Courts and Congress assigns vast power, even the power to decide presidential elections-to the Imperial Court. The Founders, if you brought them back today would at least recognize the Congress and the president. They would be astounded to read that the courts are in actual peril. They would even less likely understand that the courts are on the ballot. The founders would not appreciate subjecting the judiciary to such partisan political rule; nor claims William Quirk, should it be.

The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution


Author: John W. Compton
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 067441988X
Category: Political Science
Page: 272
View: 7445

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John Compton shows how evangelicals, not New Deal reformers, paved the way for the most important constitutional developments of the twentieth century. Their early-1800s crusade to destroy property that made immorality possible challenged founding-era legal protections of slavery, lotteries, and liquor sales and opened the door to progressivism.

Defending Congress and the Constitution


Author: Louis Fisher
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780700617982
Category: Political Science
Page: 358
View: 8605

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Drawing on four decades of research, the award-winning author of Military Tribunals and Presidential Power presents an argument for a reassertion of Congress's rightful role in government while illuminating historical conflicts among the three branches and explaining Congress' pivotal defenses of individual rights.

Democracy's Privileged Few

Legislative Privilege and Democratic Norms in the British and American Constitutions
Author: Joshua A. Chafetz
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300134896
Category: Law
Page: 307
View: 6933

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This book is the first to compare the freedoms and protections of members of the United States Congress with those of Britain's Parliament. Placing legislative privilege in historical context, Josh Chafetz explores how and why legislators in Britain and America have been granted special privileges in five areas: jurisdictional conflicts between the courts and the legislative houses, freedom of speech, freedom from civil arrest, contested elections, and the disciplinary powers of the houses. Legislative privilege is a crucial component of the relationship between a representative body and the other participants in government, including the people. In recounting and analysing the remarkable story of how parliamentary government emerged and evolved in Britain and how it crossed the Atlantic, Chafetz illuminates a variety of important constitutional issues, including the separation of powers, the nature of representation, and the difference between written and unwritten constitutionalism. This book will inspire in readers a much greater appreciation for the rise and triumph of democracy.

The Law of Nations and the United States Constitution


Author: Anthony J. Bellia Jr.,Bradford R. Clark
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190666781
Category: Law
Page: 224
View: 2362

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The Law of Nations and the United States Constitution offers a new lens through which anyone interested in constitutional governance in the United States should analyze the role and status of customary international law in U.S. courts. The book explains that the law of nations has not interacted with the Constitution in any single overarching way. Rather, the Constitution was designed to interact in distinct ways with each of the three traditional branches of the law of nations that existed when it was adopted--namely, the law merchant, the law of state-state relations, and the law maritime. By disaggregating how different parts of the Constitution interacted with different kinds of international law, the book provides an account of historical understandings and judicial precedent that will help judges and scholars more readily identify and resolve the constitutional questions presented by judicial use of customary international law today. Part I describes the three traditional branches of the law of nations and examines their relationship with the Constitution. Part II describes the emergence of modern customary international law in the twentieth century, considers how it differs from the traditional branches of the law of nations, and explains why its role or status in U.S. courts requires an independent, context-specific analysis of its interaction with the Constitution. Part III assesses how both modern and traditional customary international law should be understood to interact with the Constitution today.

Constitutional Construction

Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning
Author: Keith E Whittington
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674045156
Category: Law
Page: 316
View: 9815

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This book argues that the Constitution has a dual nature. The first aspect, on which legal scholars have focused, is the degree to which the Constitution acts as a binding set of rules that can be neutrally interpreted and externally enforced by the courts against government actors. This is the process of constitutional interpretation. But according to Keith Whittington, the Constitution also permeates politics itself, to guide and constrain political actors in the very process of making public policy. In so doing, it is also dependent on political actors, both to formulate authoritative constitutional requirements and to enforce those fundamental settlements in the future. Whittington characterizes this process, by which constitutional meaning is shaped within politics at the same time that politics is shaped by the Constitution, as one of construction as opposed to interpretation. Whittington goes on to argue that ambiguities in the constitutional text and changes in the political situation push political actors to construct their own constitutional understanding. The construction of constitutional meaning is a necessary part of the political process and a regular part of our nation's history, how a democracy lives with a written constitution. The Constitution both binds and empowers government officials. Whittington develops his argument through intensive analysis of four important cases: the impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson, the nullification crisis, and reforms of presidential-congressional relations during the Nixon presidency.

The Heart of the Constitution

How the Bill of Rights Became the Bill of Rights
Author: Gerard Magliocca
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190271604
Category: History
Page: 240
View: 8343

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"This is the untold story of the most celebrated part of the Constitution. Until the twentieth century, few Americans called the first ten amendments the Bill of Rights. When they did after 1900, the Bill of Rights was usually invoked to increase rather than limit federal authority"--

The First Congress

How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government
Author: Fergus M. Bordewich
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451691939
Category: History
Page: 416
View: 7190

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"The First Congress was the most important in US history says prizewinning author and historian Fergus Bordewich, because it established how our government would actually function. Had it failed--as many at the time feared it would--it's possible that the United States as we know it would not exist today,"--NoveList.

The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents


Author: Corey Brettschneider
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393652130
Category: Political Science
Page: 224
View: 9216

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An essential guide to the presidential powers and limits of the Constitution, for anyone voting—or running—for our highest office. Can the president launch a nuclear attack without congressional approval? Is it ever a crime to criticize the president? Can states legally resist a president’s executive order? In today’s fraught political climate, it often seems as if we must become constitutional law scholars just to understand the news from Washington, let alone make a responsible decision at the polls. The Oath and the Office is the book we need, right now and into the future, whether we are voting for or running to become president of the United States. Constitutional law scholar and political science professor Corey Brettschneider guides us through the Constitution and explains the powers—and limits—that it places on the presidency. From the document itself and from American history’s most famous court cases, we learn why certain powers were granted to the presidency, how the Bill of Rights limits those powers, and what “we the people” can do to influence the nation’s highest public office—including, if need be, removing the person in it. In these brief yet deeply researched chapters, we meet founding fathers such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, as well as key figures from historic cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Korematsu v. United States. Brettschneider breathes new life into the articles and amendments that we once read about in high school civics class, but that have real impact on our lives today. The Oath and the Office offers a compact, comprehensive tour of the Constitution, and empowers all readers, voters, and future presidents with the knowledge and confidence to read and understand one of our nation’s most important founding documents.

The Imprint of Congress


Author: David R. Mayhew
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300227949
Category: Political Science
Page: 160
View: 1038

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What kind of job has America's routinely disparaged legislative body actually done? In The Imprint of Congress, the distinguished congressional scholar David R. Mayhew gives us an insightful historical analysis of the U.S. Congress’s performance from the late eighteenth century to today, exploring what its lasting imprint has been on American politics and society. Mayhew suggests that Congress has balanced the presidency in a surprising variety of ways, and in doing so, it has contributed to the legitimacy of a governing system faced by an often fractious public.

The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform


Author: Andrew Koppelman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199970041
Category: Political Science
Page: 240
View: 6879

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Chief Justice John Roberts stunned the nation by upholding the Affordable Care Act--more commonly known as Obamacare. But legal experts observed that the decision might prove a strategic defeat for progressives. Roberts grounded his decision on Congress's power to tax. He dismissed the claim that it is allowed under the Constitution's commerce clause, which has been the basis of virtually all federal regulation--now thrown in doubt. In The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform, Andrew Koppelman explains how the Court's conservatives embraced the arguments of a fringe libertarian legal movement bent on eviscerating the modern social welfare state. They instead advocate what Koppelman calls a "tough luck" philosophy: if you fall on hard times, too bad for you. He argues that the rule they proposed--that the government can't make citizens buy things--has nothing to do with the Constitution, and that it is in fact useless to stop real abuses of power, as it was tailor-made to block this one law after its opponents had lost in the legislature. He goes on to dismantle the high court's construction of the commerce clause, arguing that it almost crippled America's ability to reverse rising health-care costs and shrinking access. Koppelman also places the Affordable Care Act within a broader historical context. The Constitution was written to increase central power, he notes, after the failure of the Articles of Confederation. The Supreme Court's previous limitations on Congressional power have proved unfortunate: it has struck down anti-lynching laws, civil-rights protections, and declared that child-labor laws would end "all freedom of commerce, and . . . our system of government [would] be practically destroyed." Both somehow survived after the court revisited these precedents. Koppelman notes that the arguments used against Obamacare are radically new--not based on established constitutional principles. Ranging from early constitutional history to potential consequences, this is the definitive postmortem of this landmark case.

Constitutional Coup

Privatization’s Threat to the American Republic
Author: Jon D. Michaels
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674737733
Category: History
Page: 312
View: 2302

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Americans hate bureaucracy—though they love the services it provides—and demand that government run like a business. Hence today’s privatization revolution. Jon Michaels shows how the fusion of politics and profits commercializes government and consolidates state power in ways the Constitution’s framers endeavored to disaggregate.

Enforcing the Equal Protection Clause

Congressional Power, Judicial Doctrine, and Constitutional Law
Author: William D. Araiza
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479859702
Category: Law
Page: 336
View: 1610

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For over a century, Congress’s power to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “the equal protection of the laws” has presented judges and scholars with a puzzle. What does it mean for Congress to “enforce” such a wide-ranging, open-ended provision when the Supreme Court has insisted on its own superiority in interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment? In Enforcing the Equal Protection Clause, William D. Araiza offers a unique understanding of Congress’s enforcement power and its relationship to the Court’s claim to supremacy when interpreting the Constitution. Drawing on the history of American thinking about equality in the decades before and after the Civil War, Araiza argues that congressional enforcement and judicial supremacy can co-exist, but only if the Court limits its role to ensuring that enforcement legislation reasonably promotes the core meaning of the Equal Protection Clause. Much of the Court’s equal protection jurisprudence stops short of stating such core meaning, thus leaving Congress free (subject to appropriate judicial checks) to enforce the full scope of the constitutional guarantee. Araiza’s thesis reconciles the Supreme Court’s ultimate role in interpreting the Constitution with Congress’s superior capacity to transform the Fourteenth Amendment’s majestic principles into living reality. The Fourteenth Amendment’s Enforcement Clause raises difficult issues of separation of powers, federalism, and constitutional rights. Araiza illuminates each of these in this scholarly, timely work that is both intellectually rigorous but also accessible to non-specialist readers.

America's Constitution

A Biography
Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588364879
Category: History
Page: 672
View: 6768

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In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

Waging War

The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS
Author: David J. Barron
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451681976
Category: History
Page: 576
View: 4898

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“Vivid…Barron has given us a rich and detailed history.” —The New York Times Book Review “Ambitious...a deep history and a thoughtful inquiry into how the constitutional system of checks and balances has functioned when it comes to waging war and making peace.” —The Washington Post A timely account of a raging debate: The history of the ongoing struggle between the presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war. The Constitution states that it is Congress that declares war, but it is the presidents who have more often taken us to war and decided how to wage it. In Waging War, David J. Barron opens with an account of George Washington and the Continental Congress over Washington’s plan to burn New York City before the British invasion. Congress ordered him not to, and he obeyed. Barron takes us through all the wars that followed: 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World Wars One and Two, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now, most spectacularly, the War on Terror. Congress has criticized George W. Bush for being too aggressive and Barack Obama for not being aggressive enough, but it avoids a vote on the matter. By recounting how our presidents have declared and waged wars, Barron shows that these executives have had to get their way without openly defying Congress. Waging War shows us our country’s revered and colorful presidents at their most trying times—Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Johnson, both Bushes, and Obama. Their wars have made heroes of some and victims of others, but most have proved adept at getting their way over reluctant or hostile Congresses. The next president will face this challenge immediately—and the Constitution and its fragile system of checks and balances will once again be at the forefront of the national debate.