The Living Presidency: Saikrishna Prakash on “recaging the executive lion”

Unprecedential

Oct 29 2020 • 53 mins

It’s commonly noted that, in the wake of King George III’s manifold mishaps, America’s framers built a constitutional system designed to constrain the executive. After all, the Founders typically deemed Congress, not the Presidency, the most powerful branch thanks to the preeminence of legislative authority granted in the Constitution. So how is it that today’s executive branch – both the Presidency and the sprawling administrative state – commands such vast governing authority, overshadowing Congress?

University of Virginia Law Professor Sai Prakash, author of The Living Presidency: An Originalist Argument Against Its Ever-Expanding Powers, talks with Adam about the debates and decisions of the Founding that paved the way for the expansive executive office we see today. From early on, America’s unwritten constitution – its mores, civic culture, accumulation of practices – laid the foundation for today’s muscular presidency. To “recage the executive lion,” Sai suggests sensible reforms based on an astute originalist reading of the Constitution.

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