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Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

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Chris OConnor

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Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

How to Read the Constitution - and Why
By Kim Wehle


Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.
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LanDroid

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Re: Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

I have a copy in transit from the library... If you're interested in this history, you might get a reference book like the following. It includes the Constitution, the Federalist papers, the Anti-Federalist papers, Articles of Confederation, the essay Common Sense by Paine, etc. One complaint about this version is it includes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments), but no other amendments. I s'pose that's OK because the authors are the "Founding Fathers."

https://www.amazon.com/Documents-Revolu ... 915&sr=1-4
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Re: Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

I've gotten half way through this first chapter, and so far there is little to get excited about. The author is careful without being pedantic (well, maybe occasionally, but really not enough to notice), and so I got pulled in some by the discussion of how you would sort the "job descriptions" of the three branches, and how the dramatic expansion of the executive in the 30s has complicated the questions involved.

I await her take on some of the questions she has raised, like what do we do when politics strips the checks and balances of their effectiveness, (you can be impeached for unpopularity more easily than for malfeasance, it would appear), and what has happened to legitimacy in the polarization of the last 15 years, or perhaps the last 30.

She's good at framing the questions. I have a feeling we are benefiting from many years of honing the points in the classroom.
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Re: Ch. 1 - The Basics: Each Branch Has a Job Description - and Two Bosses

The Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the structural Constitution seek to ensure that the federal government is erected and operates according to the architectural blueprint set forth in the Constitution. That blue print lays out rules for how the United States government must function. In theory, those rules make the US government impervious to dictators. If a would-be-dictator tries to take over, he will inevitably bump up against structural barriers. Ultimately, he will lose his power grab not because the American people are smart enough to elect only good people but because the system will (or should) inevitably force unethical, power-hungry people out of power one way or another. The structural Constitution assumes that human beings will continue to act like human beings – meaning some will seek more power regardless of the external costs. The structural axis of constitutional law kicks in when it needs to kick out those people who are trying to violate democratic norms.
p. 37 - 38 (Italics in original)
Wow. I hope she is correct! This was written in 2019, so she knew the risks that are developing, but perhaps not as clearly as they appear now. Also, I notice a few weasel words. "In theory"..."or should..." This could be tested severely in the next 3 years. :hmm:
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