Curriculum

Seminar in Congress, the Presidency & the Courts

L736 is taught by D. Johnsen

This seminar examines the authorities of the three branches of the national government, with an emphasis on presidential powers. Specific topics may include: What are the relative powers of the President and Congress in the areas of foreign affairs, military action and national security? For example, when must Congress authorize war before the President authorizes the use of military force? What are the limits to the President#s authority to regulate immigration in the name of national security, including possible federalism limits that allow for #sanctuary cities#? And when is judicial oversight of such matters appropriate? Should courts refuse to hear claims of unlawful torture, detention or surveillance by the government, under state secrets, political question, standing or other doctrines that reflect separation of powers principles? May the President refuse to enforce (or defend) laws he believes are unconstitutional, such as laws that proscribe torture and require court orders for government surveillance? What are appropriate forms of congressional oversight of the Executive, including limitations on the appointment and removal of executive branch officers and judges, the refusal to raise the debt ceiling or authorize expenditures resulting in the shutdown of government, and the Independent Counsel Act? When may the President refuse to comply with requests for information from Congress or the courts? Requirements include a research paper (which satisfies the advanced research requirement). No exam.