The Case for a Big Power Swap

Bitter arguments between the President and the Congress are built into our constitutional system. What isn't necessarily built in are the bitter arguments of recent years over the constitutional division of labor itself. Controversies over a wide range of issues -- independent-counsel prosecutions, Supreme Court nominees, funding of the Nicaraguan contras, the Persian Gulf War, the federal budget deficit -- all turned into fights about the separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive branches.

During the era of divided government, conservatives developed an enormous and historically uncharacteristic enthusiasm for presidential power. Conservative legal scholars produced elaborate theories establishing to their...

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