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As I’m sure all have heard, President Trump recently claimed to have “total authority” over how our fifty states (and a handful of territories) handle the stepped re-opening of their economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He stated that he would closely monitor how each state handled this issue, and if he found fault with anything they did he would step in and override their actions.
Political scientists and legal scholars (as well as both Democratic and Republican members of Congress) responded with some alarm. Many believe that the Founding Fathers created a federal executive branch of significant but limited authority. They also, via the 10th Amendment, carved out a great deal of residual power for the states. Trump declined to specify what Article II language led him to this fairly stunning conclusion, but he stuck to his guns–he has total authority to do as he wishes.
We now know, as is typical of President Trump, that his actions didn’t measure up to his hyperbolic language. He seems, at least for now, to be respecting the authority of each state to do as they see fit regarding when, and how, to reopen their economies and societies.
We also know, however, that President Trump has often made extraordinary claims of presidential power–remember, for example, how, when articulating a sketchy theory of a deep state via the federal bureaucracy, that he said that “I’m the only one who matters.” This is basically an extreme version of the unitary theory of the executive branch–that ALL such power lies solely in the hands of the President, and all other federal executive branch actors (the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, etc.) are insignificant and are merely pawns of the President.
So is it time to re-engineer the U.S. Constitution, since in its current form it probably doesn’t fit Trump’s vision of executive power? Albeit I suspect that if Trump were to have his way, we would re-engineer the Constitution to give him in particular extraordinary powers, which would then go away were anyone else ever to become President of the United States–and that doesn’t seem terribly reasonable.
Are we kidding ourselves? Do we live in an age that favors nation-states with an utterly dominant executive branch? Some would say that that is why we are seeing the rise of countries like China and Russia–they don’t mess around on this issue, they simply have strongman leaders who make no pretense of being anything other than exactly that. Go!
Type of service:Academic paper writing
Type of assignment:Essay
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Academic level:Freshman (College 1st year)
Language style:US English