The Erosion of Congressional Checks on Presidential Power

By Neal Devins

Neal Devins is the Sandra Day O'Connor Professor of Law and Professor of Government, College of William and Mary. He is the author of books and articles on the Supreme Court and the interface between the Court and elected government. In the past two years, his scholarship has been featured in articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times,  Slate, and the Washington Post.

After his inauguration today, Donald Trump will hold  the most powerful office in the country. Just how powerful, however, is much debated. Over the past 15 years, presidential authority to pursue unilateral action in areas of foreign policy, national security, and warmaking has increased precipitously, and some argue that President Obama has expanded these authorities even further. The Cipher Brief spoke with Neal Devins, Professor of Law and Government at College of William and Mary, to find out just how much authority resides in the presidency and how checks and balances on presidential power have changed in the modern era.

The Cipher Brief: What are the major things that a president can or can’t do today without significant legislative or judicial checks?

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