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Constitutional resistance to executive power

By: Lawrence Friedman


Image credit: "2016 US presidential election results", public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


In a blog post following the election of Donald J. Trump, Professor Mark A. Graber examined the new president’s cavalier attitude toward constitutional norms and predicted that, “[o]ver the next few years, Americans and constitutional observers are likely to learn whether the Framers in 1787 did indeed contrive ‘a machine that would go of itself’ or whether human intervention is necessary both to operate the constitution and compensate for systemic constitutional failures.”

Nine months into the Trump administration (at this writing), the machine continues to go: the structural checks and balances that flow from a federal government of separated powers have worked to allow challenges to, and even thwart, some of the president’s policy moves.

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