Executive Power in the USA

The American Constitution is intended to bring political transformations slowly and with difficulties. As a result, diverse insurgencies have occasionally risen over it. Undeniably, a number of things in the development of American politics are more exciting than the inventiveness of empowering movements in confounding checks and balances that frustrate their ambitions. Moreover, they have proven to be more significant for the American government in due course, despite the ideas they have put forward to ease constraints. The American presidency is regarded as one of the principal products of the political mechanism of lawful interference (Tocqueville, Mansfield, and Winthrop 56).

Regularly, a president has proven to have essential political ambitions concerning the newly adopted reforms, and has introduced a new set of institutional resources and legitimating ideas premeditated to be accomplished. It may seem obvious that he is exceptionally eager for transformative ambitions, but the fact remains that the presidency becomes one of the big paradoxes of the design of the American Constitution. The framers of the latter feared that such leaders would directly appeal to people with one political program or another, and they formed the presidency largely to check well-liked enthusiasm. The framers anticipated moments, where there would be the complete separation of powers between different branches of the government.

They adopted the system of checks and balances in the American Government to ensure that no branch would overreach another, and the public would be free from the fear of the tyrannical rule or the abuse of power. Scholars have debated for years, particularly for the last decades, whether the intentions of the writers of the Constitution have been carried out. Some of them, including Peter Shane (16), argue that public officials have drastically strayed from the intended design of the government. In his book Madison’s Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy, he argues that constitutional checks and balances have been distorted. They broadened presidential powers, and it resulted in an executive branch that ignored the suggestions of the Congress. It in turn led to poor decisions and errors. On the other hand, some scholars, such as John Yoo, assert that contemporary interpretations of the Constitution, namely the necessity for an authoritative executive power, should adapt to ever-changing phenomena that governments presently face. In the book called War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror, Yoo (23) stresses that the executive branch is actually acting pursuant to its constitutional rights, and that the former presidents have consistently exercised this power since the Lincoln’s Presidency. On the contrary, Shane (35) detailed specific accounts of an authoritative executive power using the Bush administration as the leading example.

Shane used a narrative style to tell people how the American dream was born. He candidly explained how early American scholars led by Madison wrote the Constitution and attempted to show what their interests were to the American public using qualitative descriptions (Shane 29). Easily readable, this piece of writing does not merely appeal the legal fraternity, but rather to all interested in political science. On the other hand, Yoo’s book lacks clear constitutional descriptions, as well as supportive examples, that require general background knowledge of political science, but still aim to appeal to political scientists and/or students.

However, Yoo holds a different opinion and neglects these statements. He holds the fact that the war shifts powers to the branch bearing the greatest responsibility for its waging, namely the executive one. He regards Mr. Bush as “King George”, being bent on establishing the “imperial presidency” (Yoo 36). Considering this, claiming the president as the one having discretion, Yoo means two things. Firstly, the president is so omniscient that he barely makes mistakes. Secondly, he is just a common person, who is liable for making such. Considering Yoo’s general care of people’s welfare, he believes that the U.S. Constitution confers the president any power he claims. The author states that the president has powers to wage war without its declaration by the Congress (Yoo 36).

Yoo continues asserting that the Constitution gives the president the primary role in far-off affairs and that the Authorization for Use of Military Force accepted by the Congress after September 9/11 grants him extensive authority to carry the war on terrorism in the way he deems suitable (Yoo 42). The author reiterates that the law is written to ensure that there can be no allegation portraying the president as leading the war on terror without the support of the Congress.

The essential principle driving Yoo’s conclusions is his uncompromising belief that during war periods, the president holding the position of the commander-in-chief is solely in charge (Yoo 26). Torture, deterrence, and surveillance must be under the unilateral control of the president. The Supreme Court and the Congress must disagree with his judgment. This reckless, extreme and dangerous view has shaped the government policies. Even the United States Court of Appeal advocating for the government’s aggressive use of power to fight terrorism has asserted that Yoo’s excessive interpretation of the president’s power confounds authorizing the armed forces with applying tyrannical control, similar to the one exercised by Hitler and Stalin. Indeed, Yoo has done a brilliant service to the Americans through offering insights into the analysis of the Bush Administration and exposing this reasoning into the light. The courts, the Congress and the American people must renounce his understanding of the Constitution.

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