Sunday, January 25, 2009

Popular Constitutionalism?

In a provocative piece in the Jan/Feb issue of The ATLANTIC, entitled The Founders' Great Mistake, ConLaw Prof Garrett Epps of University of Baltimore School of Law says,

as Bush leaves the White House, it’s worth asking why he was able to behave so badly for so long without being stopped by the Constitution’s famous “checks and balances.” Some of the problems with the Bush administration, in fact, have their source not in Bush’s leadership style but in the constitutional design of the presidency. Unless these problems are fixed, it will only be a matter of time before another hot-rodder gets hold of the keys and damages the country further.

Epps Bottom line?  Epp argues that Article II needs an overhaul.  He has some specific suggestions, including abolishing the electoral college and addressing the "unitary" executive. 

These suggestions might be the basis of an in-class exercise, either asking students to react to Epps' specific suggestions or to "brainstorm" suggestions of their own.  His piece also has an accessible, if necessarily somewhat superficial, history.  And, of course, it can serve to remind students that the very issues they are studying are also being discussed in the "popular media."

RR

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2009/01/popular-constit.html

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