Separation of Powers: The Political Branches Seminar

Credit Hours: 2

This course is an advanced seminar examining the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches building on topics addressed in Constitutional Law I: Structure of Government, which is a prerequisite for the course. Beginning with a brief overview of broad separation of powers concepts foundational to the ratification of the Constitution, the course will cover contemporary practice and constitutional questions related to the balance of power among Congress, the White House, and executive branch agencies. Specific topics will range from the locus of national security authority and the President’s Commander-in-Chief role to emergency powers, the role of congressional appropriations in shaping executive branch practice, and congressional and inspector general oversight authority, to a study of overarching principles that govern the relationship of the White House with executive agencies and commissions. Course content will incorporate constitutional principles underlying the division of authority between the two political branches as well as insight from the instructors’ high-level government service. The course includes a 25-page writing requirement.