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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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Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover

(p.273) 31 Herbert Hoover
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Herbert Hoover, who, despite sharing Calvin Coolidge's reticence, defended the president's authority to execute the law even before he was in office as president. While a member of the Coolidge administration, Hoover had questioned the constitutional propriety of conferring executive powers upon independent agencies, arguing that “there should be single-headed responsibility in executive and administrative functions.” He reiterated these views after assuming the presidency. Addressing the problem of departmental reorganization in his first annual message, Hoover urged that all executive administrative activities should be placed under single-headed responsibility. Consistent with these views, he assumed full responsibility for all executive policies. Hoover asserted his authority over Andrew Mellon, the strong-willed secretary of the treasury, by ordering Mellon's department “to publish all large governmental refunds of gift, estate, and income taxes[, which] was an important repudiation of the secretary's earlier policies.”

Keywords:   constitutional propriety, Herbert Hoover, Coolidge administration, departmental reorganization, single-headed responsibility, Andrew Mellon

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