Separation of Powers Seminar

Course Catalog Number: 
Course Credits: 
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Graduation Requirements: 
Upper-Level Writing
"W" Writing
Course Priority: 
Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority

As is often noted, the distribution of powers among the three branches of the federal government, as envisioned by the Framers, was not designed primarily with a view to the efficiency of government, but rather with the aim of forestalling the undue accumulation of power in one of the branches with the consequent threat to the liberty of the people. The complex balances thereby created constantly pose questions, both fascinating and important, to the courts for resolution; and the balances are always in flux in reaction to changes in legal doctrine as well as the political landscape. No practitioner whose professional activities touch either the Executive Branch or Congress should be without a sophisticated understanding of separation of powers law. This seminar will survey such issues as appointment and removal of Executive Branch officials, presidential supervision of policy-making within executive and independent agencies, delegation of power, the presidential veto power, the role of executive orders, congressional control of spending, immunities from suit, and governmental privileges.