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2014

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University at Buffalo School of Law

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Judicial Review And Non-Enforcement At The Founding, Matthew Steilen Nov 2014

Judicial Review And Non-Enforcement At The Founding, Matthew Steilen

Journal Articles

This Article examines the relationship between judicial review and presidential non-enforcement of statutory law. Defenders of non-enforcement regularly argue that the justification for judicial review that prevailed at the time of the founding also justifies the president in declining to enforce unconstitutional laws. The argument is unsound. This Article shows that there is essentially no historical evidence, from ratification through the first decade under the Constitution, in support of a non-enforcement power. It also shows that the framers repeatedly made statements inconsistent with the supposition that the president could refuse to enforce laws he deemed unconstitutional. In contrast, during this ...