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"Situational Constitutionalism" and Presidential Power: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal Model of Presidential Government

J. Richard Piper
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 24, No. 3, Conduct of Foreign Policy (Summer, 1994), pp. 577-594
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27551285
Page Count: 18
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Abstract

Assessing the liberal model of presidential government that prevailed from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s as an example of "situational constitutionalism," this study analyzes the four principal components of this normative model and the political situations which gave rise to their emergence and led to their demise. Examination of the post-1960s patterns illustrates the development of three new liberal presidential-congressional models, only one of which (though flawed) appears capable of serving the guiding and legitimating functions once performed by the liberal presidential government model. After surveying criticisms of liberal and other varieties of situational constitutionalism, and proposed alternatives, the study concludes that situational constitutionalism of the type analyzed has been a common and recurring feature of American politics and that proposals for overcoming it are unlikely to meet with success.

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