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The Unitary ExecutivePresidential Power from Washington to Bush$
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Steven G. Calabresi and Christopher S. Yoo

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300121261

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300121261.001.0001

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Why Presidential Views of the Scope of Presidential Power Matter

Why Presidential Views of the Scope of Presidential Power Matter

(p.22) Why Presidential Views of the Scope of Presidential Power Matter
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This chapter points out an important ground on which this entire book might be criticized: the predictability of the fact that all forty-three presidents would favor a broad understanding of presidential power. This criticism contends that the focus should be on the statutes enacted by Congress and not on presidential understandings of the scope of presidential power, since the president might be inherently biased when it comes to questions about the subject. As a rebuttal, it can be said that the same claims of bias can be raised against the alternative methodology of looking only at federal statutes, since it is Congress, of course, which writes and enacts those statutes. While it is true that presidents can veto federal statutes, Congress can override those vetoes, and can also bundle objectionable provisions creating independent entities into legislation which is so important that the president has to sign it.

Keywords:   broad understanding, presidential power, federal statutes, Congress, presidential understandings, bias, veto, objectionable provisions, legislation

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