Book Review: Somin on Buckley’s The Once and Future King

Professor F.H. Buckley’s book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in Americawas reviewed in The Independent Review by Professor Ilya Somin.

In the book review, Somin described The Once and Future King as “a major contribution to the debate over comparative constitutional design” and perhaps “the best recent statement of the case for the superiority of parliamentary government.” Somin, however, argued that presidentialism has important advantages of its own.


In The Once and Future King, [Buckley] offers a penetrating analysis of the dangerous growth of executive power in three predominantly English-speaking democracies: Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Executives in all three nations have increased their authority at the expense of the legislature in recent decades. But Buckley contends that Britain and Canada’s parliamentary regimes are better able to limit the dangers of executive aggrandizement than America’s separation-of-powers system.

The book review appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of The Independent Review.