The Presidency 47

The following is an extract from Lesson 3 of Trust and the Presidency. You can read the entire lesson here:

Last week, we introduced the unitary executive theory. According to supporters of the unitary executive theory, presidents may act within their explicit and implied powers without Congressional interference. From this perspective, so long as the President is acting within Article 1 powers, any attempt to limit the President’s control over the Executive Branch is unconstitutional, and all Congressional inquiries into Executive Branch operations can be rejected unless clearly linked to the legislative function.

Dissenters from the Unitary Executive Theory argue that Congress can regulate any presidential powers that are not clearly spelled out in the Constitution – so long as Congress does not obstruct constitutional obligations placed on the presidency.  They base their argument on the Necessary and Proper Clause (Article 1, Section 8) of the Constitution. That clause says

Congress shall have power … To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Image: George Washington.

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