Unitary Executive

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I know I wrote a bit on this already, but I didn't get into specifics; I just broadly stated that the Senators do not believe what they say about Alito letting the President do whatever he wishes.

But I keep seeing the politicians, and many others parroting them mindlessly, quote Alito's belief in the Unitary Executive Theory (UET), which they say means that Alito will not check the President's power, but let him do whatever he wishes.

This demonstrates an unfortunately pervasive, and fundamental, misunderstanding of the UET, one which Alito explained in his hearings: "The issue of ... the concept of the unitary executive does not have to do with the scope of executive power. It has to do with who within the executive branch controls the exercise of executive power. The theory is the Constitution says the executive power is conferred on the President."

So, for example, the UET does not say the President has the authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps; it says, rather, that if the Executive Branch has such authority, that the President controls that authority. The two issues are wholly tangential.

The point of the UET is to say things like, one department in the Executive Branch cannot sue another, because the President absolutely controls both departments, and he is responsible for any such disputes, and if the judicial branch were to intervene, it would violate the separation of powers. The theory focuses on Article II, Section 1, which states, "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

Despite the best attempts by the President's opposition to state otherwise, Alito never in any way expressed that the President will get special deference. Instead, Alito said that the would apply the Constitution to determine the proper scope of power, and his record as a federal judge clearly proves he will. slashdot.org

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on January 22, 2006 11:54 AM.

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