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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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(p.417) Part VIII Conclusion
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This book concludes by weighing the claim, which is often made, that the theory of the unitary executive is foreclosed by the sweep of history. This claim is weighed from the perspective of departmentalists who believe in three-branch constitutional interpretation. Departmentalism holds that Congress and the president share with the courts the power and the duty to interpret and enforce the Constitution. Giving one branch—whether it be Congress or the federal courts—the last word in expounding the Constitution's meaning would not only place resolution of a separation-of-powers dispute in the hands of an interested party, it would also stifle valuable interbranch dialogue about the proper interpretation of the Constitution itself. For this reason, departmentalists do not regard a separation-of-powers issue as settled unless there is a consistent practice pursued with the knowledge of the other branches and in which the other branches have acquiesced.

Keywords:   sweep of history, departmentalists, constitutional interpretation, Constitution, separation of powers, interbranch dialogue

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