Like an ideal market, they write, Madison's separation of powers has no central director, but it lacks the price system which gives an economy its structure; there is nothing in checks and balances that intrinsically generates order or promotes positive arrangements. In fact, the greater complexity of the modern world produces a concentration of power, particularly in the White House.
The authors chart the rise of executive authority, noting that among strong presidents only Nixon has come in for severe criticism, leading to legislation which was designed to limit the presidency, yet which failed to do so. Political, cultural and social restraints, they argue, have been more effective in preventing dictatorship than any law.
The executive-centered state tends to generate political checks that substitute for the legal checks of the Madisonian constitution.
Piety toward the founders and a historic fear of tyranny have been powerful forces in American political thinking. Posner and Vermeule confront them both in this startlingly original contribution. Excerpt In the administrative state, what if anything constrains the enormous power of the executive—including both the presidency and the administrative agencies?
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Private: Madisonianism Misunderstood: A Reply to Posner and Vermeule
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Are We Stuck with the Imperial Presidency? | by David Cole | The New York Review of Books
New York, Oxford University Press, In recent years, advocates of broad executive power have made bold claims. George W.
Bush administration attorneys asserted that Congress could not limit presidential authority to wage pre-emptive war or authorize torture. Barack Obama administration attorneys concluded that the President could authorize military action in Libya without congressional approval.
Related The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic
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