The Constitutional Boundaries Of The Imperial Presidency Essay

The Constitutional Boundaries Of The Imperial Presidency Essay

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Has the modern Presidency over-stepped its Constitutional boundaries? This is the driving question for some political analysts. Some see that no matter who becomes president, Republican or Democrat, they seem to continue similar policies that overstep their Constitutional boundaries. They label this phenomenon as the “imperial presidency.” The imperial presidency is a dangerous trend that has led to the overexpansion of the President’s powers and critics are right in being worried about the imperial presidency.
The first aspect of the imperial presidency that both Bush and Obama have utilized are arguably unconstitutional signing statements. Signing statements are sweeping statements that President’s use where they outline specific aspects of a bill that they interpret as breaching constitutional authority. The most prominent examples of signing statements involve the president’s powers as Commander in Chief. If a particular aspect of a bill was determined by the President to violate separation of powers, say a restriction on the President in transferring detainees to foreign countries, the president issues a signing statement saying that it interferes with his abilities as chief executive and he will effectively issue a line-item veto. This has dangerous implications. First off, line-item vetoes were ruled as unconstitutional in 1998 in the case of Clinton v. City of New York. Line-item vetoes were ruled as an overstep of the Presentment Clause. Second, signing statements might also violate the separation of powers principle in that it gives the President the unilateral power to determine Constitutionality of legislation, which is generally reserved to the role of the Supreme Court. While the President has some leeway in executin...


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...looked poorly upon Obama’s decision to balk on the “red line” (Smith and Hirsch 2015). Instead of acting unilaterally and possibly starting a full out war, he looked to Congress for approval and looked for other ways to reduce the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. In nearly every political conflict, the international community seems to look up to America and expect them to act swiftly as the world police. The president seems to have a certain responsibility to act quickly and unilaterally, but this can run into problems as previously discussed.
Overall, it is reasonably for critics and academics to be skeptical of the imperial presidency. Casually subverting the Constitution should should not be viewed lightly. Certain aspects of the imperial presidency such as signing statements and drone warfare have proven themselves problematic both legally and ethically.

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