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Constitutional Law

1991

Construction Law

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The Constitutional Case Against Intracircuit Nonacquiescence, Dan T. Coenen May 1991

The Constitutional Case Against Intracircuit Nonacquiescence, Dan T. Coenen

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A cornerstone of the United States Constitution is its separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the national government. The Framers of the Constitution reasoned that separated powers would guard against tyranny by blocking the undue concentration of authority in any single governmental department. In crafting the Constitution, however, the Framers could not anticipate every dispute their scheme of separated powers might engender. One modern separation-of-powers conflict not specifically anticipated by the constitutional text involves so-called "intracircuit nonacquiescence.”

Intracircuit nonacquiescence occurs when executive-branch decision makers refuse to follow a circuit court's precedents even when acting ...