Curriculum Guide · Courses
Separation of Powers
J.D. Course 397 | 3 credit hours
This course will address the allocation of authority among the branches of the federal government. The course title is a bit of a misnomer, because those powers are not simply “separated” between the three departments. As Justice Jackson wrote, although "the Constitution diffuses power the better to secure liberty . . . it also contemplates that practice will integrate the dispersed powers into a workable government. It enjoins upon its branches separateness but interdependence, autonomy but reciprocity." Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 635 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring)). A principal focus of the course will be to test Justice Jackson’s description. Although we will examine some issues related to the federal judiciary and Article III, our primary focus will be on Articles I and II--in particular, on the President’s independent powers and Congress’s authority to regulate the Executive. This course will deal in greater depth with some of the separation-of-powers issues you studied in Constitutional Law I, but we will also closely examine current controversies, including the allocation of congressional and executive war powers, foreign affairs disputes, congressional oversight, presidential control over the execution of federal law, and constitutional interpretation within the political branches. The principal text will be the second edition of Shane & Bruff, Separation of Powers Law (2005), with some supplemental materials.
Students may not receive credit for this course and Separation of Powers Seminar.