Since the mid-1970s American presidents have, with growing frequency, claimed that they have the power to ignore any law they believe is unconstitutional. Beginning with a review of the English constitutional backdrop against which the U.S. Constitution was framed, this book demonstrates that the Founders did not intend to confer on the president a power equivalent to the royal prerogative of suspending the laws, which was stripped from the English Crown in 1689. The author examines each of the nearly 150 instances in which presidents from George Washington to Jimmy Carter have objected to the validity of a law, in order to determine whether or not the president then ignored the law in question. This examination of the historical record reveals that prior to the mid-1970s the White House only rarely failed to honor a law that it believed to be unconstitutional.

  • ISBN13: 9780313300646
  • Publisher: Praeger
  • Pubilcation Year: 1998
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 00232
SeriesContributions in Legal Studies
Series Volume Number86
Publication DateAugust 20, 1998

Presidential Defiance of Unconstitutional Laws: Reviving the Royal Prerogative

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