The Courts: A Constraint on Presidential power?. The Courts: A constraint on presidential power?. How have the courts served as a check (or expansion) of presidential power?. The Court on Executive Power.
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A Constraint on Presidential power?
“A judge, like an executive adviser, may be surprised at the poverty of really useful and unambiguous authority applicable to concrete problems of executive power as they actually present themselves. Just what our forefathers did envision, or would have envisioned had they foreseen modern conditions, must be divined from materials almost as enigmatic as the dreams Joseph was called upon to interpret for Pharaoh. A century and a half of partisan debate and scholarly speculation yields no net result but only supplies more or less apt quotations from respected sources on each side of any question. They largely cancel each other. And court decisions are indecisive because of the judicial practice of dealing with the largest questions in the most narrow way.”
–Justice Jackson, concurring, Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer
“In this vast eternal realm, with its important, complicated, delicate, and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate, but he alone negotiates…
“It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power but with such authority the very delicate, plenary, and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations—a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress…”
“When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate…
“When the President acts in absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers, but there is a ZONE OF TWILIGHT in which he and Congress may have concurrent authority or in which its distribution is uncertain…
“When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter.”
--Justice Jackson, Concurrence,
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer