The Executive Constitutional Mandate: demystifying the fountain of honor; Presidential powers overreach in Uganda
The first thing I would like to ask my readers is to imagine a different President in office. If they support the current President and believe those who oppose him are doing so for partisan or otherwise illegitimate reasons, they should visualize a President whom they completely distrust. Conversely, if they dislike the current President, they should conceive of the President in power as someone they support and that those opposing him are acting illegitimately. This exercise is helpful, I believe, for focusing attention on the underlying constitutional issues rather than upon the wisdom, or lack thereof, of a particular President’s policies. Views as to whether or not an exercise of presidential power is legitimate tend to be based less upon legal abstractions than upon perceptions of the particular President in power. Someone supporting a particular President, for example, is likely to believe that parliament should not have the power to interfere with the President’s unilateral decision to send troops into armed conflict or that parliament should not have the authority to demand the President to extend or remove his term limits. Conversely, someone who believes a President’s agenda is improperly motivated or ill-advised is more likely to support constitutional principles that provide significant checks and balances upon the President’s exercise of power. In this way, views on presidential power tend to be more variable than views on other constitutional issues because they intuitively relate to who is in power in a way that views on other controversial constitutional issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, or freedom of religion do not. For this reason, this book on presidential power is well timed. Because the question of who will hold the Presidency after the next election should always be much in doubt, this is the perfect opportunity to examine the nature of presidential power as an abstract matter, rather than as a criticism or as an apologia of a specific President’s actions. This is what I intend to do in this book. Specifically, I contend that the power of the Presidency has been expanding since the founding, and that we need to consider the implications of this expansion within the constitutional structure of separation of powers. No matter which party controls power. This book makes the descriptive case by briefly canvassing a series of factors that have had, and continue to have, the effect of expanding presidential power. It further suggests this expansion in presidential power has created a constitutional imbalance between the executive and legislative branches, calling into doubt the continued efficacy of the structure of separation of powers set forth by the Framers. The book offers some suggestions as to how this power imbalance can be alleviated, but it does not present a silver bullet solution. Because many, if not all, the factors that have led to increased presidential power are the products of greed and selfish needs. Thus, this book ends with only the modest conclusion that regardless of who wins the Presidency, it is critical that those on both sides of the aisle work to assure that the growth in presidential power is at least checked, if not reversed.
Use this URI to cite this item:https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11951/912
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