Positive and Negative Consequences of the Unitary Executive Theory

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Eddy Lingue

Positive and Negative Consequences of the Unitary Executive Theory

The unitary executive theory argues that the president of the United States has complete executive power that is unchecked by the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. This controversial theory has been invoked repeatedly by the Bush administration and previous presidents such as Nixon and Franklin Roosevelt in justification of their boldest actions, both at home and abroad. The negative consequence of the unitary executive theory are the direct violations the people right to privacy by monitoring, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S . Another example would be during the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra Affair. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan's administration supplied weapons to Iran a sworn enemy in hopes of securing the release of American hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah terrorists loyal to the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's leader. The profits from these sales to the Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua were illegally diverted. A law must be consistent, universal, published, accepted and enforced by the commander in chief. But in some cases morality might create a gray area where presidents sometimes have to navigate, thus forcing them to assert their executive power to a level which sometimes violates the constitution. A perfect example would be when President Abraham Lincoln, responding to a Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, does not wait for Congress to begin its next session to make his response. Instead, Lincoln, wielding powers that the Constitution does not grant him and without a formal declaration of war, drastically enlarges the Union’s army and navy, blockades Southern...
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