Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Founding Fathers did NOT create a federal government with three "co-equal" branches

Among the many ample helpings of bunkum served up by lawmakers in last week's congressional debate over the war in Iraq, the one that has drawn the least criticism -- perhaps no criticism until mine -- is that the Constitution provides for three "co-equal" branches of government.

The Democrats, unfortunately, were the principal peddlers of this fiction. Their intent, of course, was to argue against any presumption that the presidency is pre-eminent, which, indeed, it is not, at least not under the Constitution.

In fact, the Founding Fathers intended for the legislative branch to be dominant, as is evidenced in the Federalist Papers and even in some of the arguments against ratification of the Constitution from people who would have preferred "co-equal" branches.

Historian Garry Wills presents a convincing case against the "co-equal" nonsense -- and against various other popular myths about the Constitution -- in his wonderful book "A Necessary Evil," which was published in 1999.

In that same year, Wills addressed the "co-equal" issue in this lecture at Harvard University. (Scroll down to pages 14 through 17 for the salient parts.)


Anonymous said...

You and Wills need to get a life.

The Rascal said...

Wow! What a brilliant, well-reasoned, incisive rebuttal! Pure genius.

Larry said...

I agree with you Rascal, the poster should "deffinatly" have at least made a point.