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Constitutional Law

Vanderbilt University Law School

Separation of powers

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The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz Jan 2022

The False Allure Of The Anti-Accumulation Principle, Kevin Stack, Michael Herz

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Today the executive branch is generally seen as the most dangerous branch. Many worry that the executive branch now defies or subsumes the separation of powers. In response, several Supreme Court Justices and prominent scholars assert that the very separation-of-powers principles that determine the structure of the federal government as a whole apply with full force within the executive branch. In particular, they argue that constitutional law prohibits the accumulation of more than one type of power-—legislative, executive, and judicial—-in the same executive official or government entity. We refer to this as the anti-accumulation principle. The consequences of this principle, …


Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps Jan 2021

Checks And Balances In The Criminal Law, Daniel Epps

Vanderbilt Law Review

The separation of powers is considered essential in the criminal law, where liberty and even life are at stake. Yet the reasons for separating criminal powers are surprisingly opaque, and the “separation of powers” is often used to refer to distinct, and sometimes contradictory, concepts.

This Article reexamines the justifications for the separation of powers in criminal law. It asks what is important about separating criminal powers and what values such separation serves. It concludes that in criminal justice, the traditional Madisonian approach of separating powers between functionally differentiated political institutions—legislature, executive, and judiciary—bears no necessary connection to important values …


The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth Jan 2019

The Due Process And Other Constitutional Rights Of Foreign Nations, Ingrid Wuerth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The rights of foreign states under the U.S. Constitution are becoming more important as the actions of foreign states and foreign state-owned enterprises expand in scope and the legislative protections to which they are entitled contract. Conventional wisdom and lower court cases hold that foreign states are outside our constitutional order and that they are protected neither by separation of powers nor by due process. As a matter of policy, however, it makes little sense to afford litigation-related constitutional protections to foreign corporations and individuals but to deny categorically such protections to foreign states.

Careful analysis shows that the conventional …


Funding Restrictions And Separation Of Powers, Zachary S. Price Jan 2018

Funding Restrictions And Separation Of Powers, Zachary S. Price

Vanderbilt Law Review

Congress's "power of the purse"-its authority to deny access to public funds-is one of its most essential constitutional authorities. A central mechanism through which English parliaments clawed liberty from reluctant monarchs, it remains a crucial check on executive overreaching. It may provide power to stop a president in his tracks. And yet, two centuries after the founding, the scope of this congressional power and its relationship with constitutional executive authorities remains both contested and inadequately theorized.


Bond, Buckley, And The Boundaries Of Separation Of Powers Standing, William Marks Mar 2014

Bond, Buckley, And The Boundaries Of Separation Of Powers Standing, William Marks

Vanderbilt Law Review

A constitutional crisis is at hand. It is 2017, and a new President of the United States has taken office.' The new President generally opposes environmental regulations and accordingly nominated a candidate for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") with a deregulatory track record. The Senate, however, stood in the way: a proenvironment party holds the majority and threatened to filibuster. New presidents in this situation typically withdraw their nominations to avoid political embarrassment. But this time was different. In a forceful display of executive authority, the President unilaterally installed the nominee as the EPA Administrator. True, this action …


Constitutional Isolationism And The Limits Of State Separation Of Powers As A Barrier To Interstate Compacts, Jim Rossi Jan 2007

Constitutional Isolationism And The Limits Of State Separation Of Powers As A Barrier To Interstate Compacts, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Essay, I address the question of which branch of state government ought to have the authority to negotiate interstate compacts - a question of state separation of powers. Recent case law interpreting state constitutions in the context of Indian gambling compacts provides a particularly fertile ground for exploring this question, as it illustrates how courts are struggling to find a way to allow state executive officials greater autonomy to negotiate interstate compacts. Part I illustrates how traditional notions of separation of powers under state constitutions can be understood to pose a barrier to executive branch negotiation of interstate …


Dual Constitutions And Constitutional Duels: Separation Of Powers And State Implementation Of Federally Inspired Regulatory Programs And Standards, Jim Rossi Jan 2005

Dual Constitutions And Constitutional Duels: Separation Of Powers And State Implementation Of Federally Inspired Regulatory Programs And Standards, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Frequently, state-wide executive agencies and localities attempt to implement federally-inspired programs. Two predominant examples are cooperative federalism programs and incorporation of federal standards in state-specific law. Federally-inspired programs can bump into state constitutional restrictions on the allocation of powers, especially in states whose constitutional systems embrace stronger prohibitions on legislative delegation than the weak restrictions at the federal level, where national goals and standards are made. This Article addresses this tension between dual federal/state normative accounts of the constitutional allocation of powers in state implementation of federally-inspired programs. To the extent the predominant ways of resolving the tension come from …


Institutional Design And The Lingering Legacy Of Antifederalist Separation Of Powers Ideals In The States, Jim Rossi Oct 1999

Institutional Design And The Lingering Legacy Of Antifederalist Separation Of Powers Ideals In The States, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law Review

In confronting important constitutional issues, state courts face a range of interpretive questions, many unanswered by the texts of state constitutions. Where a constitutional text fails to answer the question posed, a state court, much like its federal counterparts,' must look to extra-textual interpretive tools to aid in its decision- making task. The literature on state constitutional law provides important insights into how interpretation operates within a single state's. system of governance. But rarely does it attempt to under- stand and appreciate how or why the interpretive practices of state and federal constitutional systems differ.

This is unfortunate. Understood through …


Institutional Design And The Lingering Legacy Of Antifederalist Separation Of Powers Ideals In The States, Jim Rossi Jan 1999

Institutional Design And The Lingering Legacy Of Antifederalist Separation Of Powers Ideals In The States, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article applies comparative institutional analysis to separation of powers under state constitutions, with a particular focus on the nondelegation doctrine and states' acceptance of Chadha-like restrictions on legislative oversight. The Article begins by contrasting state and federal doctrine and enforcement levels in each of these separation of powers contexts. Most state courts, unlike their federal counterparts, adhere to a strong nondelegation doctrine. In addition, many states accept (de facto if not de jure) even more explicit and sweeping legislative vetoes than the federal system. The Article highlights the contrast of federal and state approaches by identifying their similarity with …


Federalism, Separation Of Powers, And Individual Liberties, Dennis G. Lagory Nov 1987

Federalism, Separation Of Powers, And Individual Liberties, Dennis G. Lagory

Vanderbilt Law Review

In a world that the Framers hardly could have anticipated, the Constitution remains a singularly effective instrument for the pres- ervation of individual liberty. In its allocation of power between the states and the federal government, it provides Americans with multiple champions of their rights--the federal government, which protects a liberty that is constantly evolving to adapt traditional values to new realities, and the state governments, which protect the basic liberties to which mankind has always been entitled. In its allocation of power between the branches of the federal government, the Constitution provides us with a polity possessing powers adequate …


Book Reviews, Stephen L. Wasby, Herbert A. Johnson Apr 1978

Book Reviews, Stephen L. Wasby, Herbert A. Johnson

Vanderbilt Law Review

The Courts and Social Policy Author: Donald L. Horowitz

Reviewed by Stephen L. Wasby

Donald Horowitz's The Courts and Social Policy is a serious effort to deal with the question of judicial capacity. Horowitz talks first of the expansion of judicial responsibility, which he thinks is a departure from the traditional exercise of the judicial function, and then explores the sources of this growth, particularly expansive statutory interpretation. He believes that courts do not do well at interpreting the mixes of statutes, regulations, and local arrangements with which they are faced more and more frequently. "Griggs v. Duke Power Co.," …


Recent Developments, Law Review Staff Mar 1973

Recent Developments, Law Review Staff

Vanderbilt Law Review

The institution of criminal charges against critical or disfavored legislators by the King of England was the prime factor prompting the long struggle for parliamentary privilege and, in the context of the American system of separation of powers, is the predominant thrust of the speech or debate clause. If the privilege of legislative immunity is to perform its traditional function of permitting legislators to carry out their legislative functions without fear of prosecution or harrassment from the executive and judicial branches, it should be applied broadly to effectuate its intended purpose of preserving the independence of the legislature and public …


Legislative Disqualifications As Bills Of Attainder, Francis D. Wormuth Apr 1951

Legislative Disqualifications As Bills Of Attainder, Francis D. Wormuth

Vanderbilt Law Review

The separation of powers was first introduced into political discussion during the English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century by the political party known as Levellers. The object was to insure that persons be judged by general and prospective rules. If the legislative authority should decide a particular case, it might be tempted through partiality or prejudice to improvise a special rule for the situation. So the separation of powers was intended to achieve that impartiality in government which Aristotle called "the rule of law."

The doctrine of checks and balances was also introduced into political discussion during the Civil …