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Georgetown University Law Center

Legislation

Executive and judiciary power

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Toward A "Due Foundation" For The Separation Of Powers: The Federalist Papers As Political Narrative, Victoria Nourse Feb 1996

Toward A "Due Foundation" For The Separation Of Powers: The Federalist Papers As Political Narrative, Victoria Nourse

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

During the past quarter century, lawyers have become strangely comfortable with descriptions of our government's structure that would, to an untutored ear, speak contradiction. We are quite satisfied to say that governmental powers are separate and shared, departments distinct and overlapping, functions autonomous and interdependent. We have settled into these contradictions as we would a roomy chair: talking this way is no longer controversial but taken for granted, uttered with a knowing wink, perceived as the starting point of sophisticated analysis. A not "entirely separate," but "entirely free," set of departments is the only way we can think about ...